Skip to main content

Full text of "Pen pictures of early pioneer life in Upper Canada"

See other formats

rCK . r \icnae-j 












Entered according to Act of the Parliament of Canada, in the year 
one thousand nine hundred and five, by MICHAEL GONDER SCHERCK, 
at the Department of Agriculture 

U) &/) 


anfc (Bids cf Ganafca, 





5 ^]HE main object of the author in putting together 
the scattered pages forming this humble volume 
has been to give glimpses of life of real homely 
life among the early pioneers. He lays no 
claim to any other merit than that of telling 
his simple story. His means of information have been of a 
more than ordinary character, and these he has endeavored to 
improve by personal enquiry and visiting the localities, so far 
as possible, where the scenes are laid and depicted. There is, as 
will be seen, a large amount of information supplied, which he 
would fain hope may be found useful in adding to the historic 
fund of other writers, who have already placed themselves on 
record on the same subject as historians of early pioneer life 
in Canada. Real and homely as his tale has been told, there 
will still be found no lack of romantic incidents and chapters 
of much interest to the general reader. The book, in a word, 
is the author's humble contribution to the history of the early 
days of his native province. Access to old manuscripts and 
records of family events retained in both his father's and 
mother's families for a century and more, has helped him to a 
very great extent in carrying out the design which he had in 
view when he first commenced what, to him, was a labor of 




Who the Early-Settlers Were 15 

The United Empire Loyalists ....... 18 

Butler's Rangers 20 

The Mennonites and Tunkers 25 


How the Emigrants from the States Reached Canada . . .29 

Appearance of the Country 34 

The Indians 36 

The Wild Animals . . .40 


The Old Log Houses and Barns 43 

The Fireplaces . . ' 45 

The Felling of the Trees 48. 

The Stumping 48 


An Old Military Road .52 

The Wayside Tavern 54 

The Corduroy and Other Roads 57 

The Old Stage Coach 58 

Horseback Riding 59 





The Mails 61 

The Newspapers 62 

Postage Stamps and Envelopes 63 

The Quill Pens 65 

The Old Currency 67 


^-The Industry of the People 69 

The Hospitality of the People 71 

The Amusements of the People 73 

Schools 74 

The School-houses 77 

The Churches 78 



The Country Store ..." 80 

The Wayside Blacksmith 82 

. The Country Peddler 83 

The Itinerant Shoemaker 84 

The Country Squire 85 

Tramps 86 



The Old-Time Camp-meeting 88 

VT he Old-Time Funerals 90 

/The Superstitions of the People 91 

Ghosts, Hobgoblins and Will-o'-the-Wisps . . . .92 

The Lightning Bug or Firefly 95 

In Time of Sickness 95 

Saving Habits of Grandfather 98 

Nursery Rhymes and Lullabies ....... 99 




The Old Homestead 101 

The Orchards and Vineyards lOg 

The Old-Time Garden 104 

The Old-Time Wells 108 

V The Family Cemetery 110 

The Rail Fence Ill 


HOME SURRO UND1NGS (Continued). 

The Bake-Ovens 114 

The Smoke Houses 116 

The Old Workshop .... ... 116 

The Old Grindstone 117 

The Corn Crib 118 



the First Stoves 120 

The Old Corner Cupboard .... ... 122 

The Grandfather's Clock 123 

The Old Flint-lock Musket . . . . . . . .125 

The Dinner Horn 127 

The Old Dash Churn . . 129 



Early Household Utensils and Articles of Furniture . . .131 

Pewter and Crockery Ware 134 

Candles and Candlesticks . . . . . . . .130 

Tea and Coffee, and Their Substitutes 138 

Lighting the Fire 139 




The Clothing of the People 143 

The Fashions in Dress 144 

Our Grandmothers' White Caps 146 


Spinning Yarn 148 

Straw Working 149 

Milking Time . . 151 

Plucking Geese 152 

Soap-Making 153 

Potash 154 

Cheese Making 154 

How Sauer Kraut was Made 156 



Cider and Cider Mills 159 

Making Apple Butter 162 

Honey Gathering, Straw Hives and Superstitions About Bees 163 

Shingle Making 164 

Flax Culture 165 

Tanning Leather 168 



Earl} 7 Farm Implements 170 

The Sickle and Reaping Hook 173 

Sowing the Grain 175 

Cradling Grain 175 

The Reaping Machine 176 

Sheep Washing and Shearing 177 



FARM WORK (Continued). 

The Threshing 

The Logging Bee . 

The Raising Bee . 

Maple Sugar Making Time 



The Paring Bee .... 
-The Quilting Bee .... 
The Husking Bee . ... 

Butchering Day, or " The Killing " 



Raccoon Hunting .... 

Hunting for Bees 

Hunting and Trapping 

Fishing in the River 

The Wild Pigeons and Wild Geese 



The Old-fashioned Country Dance 

The Charivari (Shivaree) 

The " Old Sorrel" 

The Spelling School 

The Singing School 

Pop Corn, N\its and Apples 



Early Country Courtship 
The Country Wedding 










The Family Watch-Dog 226 

A Trip to Market 228 

An Auction Sale on the Farm 230 



The Old Water Wheel 234 

The Old Sawmills 236 

The Windmills 237 

The Old-Time Winter 237 

Views of The Niagara 239 



The Wild Fruits 242 

The Familiar Wild Flowers 243 

Lost in the Woods . . . 245 

Forest Fires 248 

A Primitive Canadian Band 249 

Mosquitoes and Black Flies 251 


FOREST LIFE (Continued). 

The Squirrel 254 

The Fox 256 

Rabbit Hunting . .258 

APPENDICES . .... 259 


An Old Homestead on the Niagara Built 1810 . . Frontispiece 

Fort Niagara, from the Lighthouse 18 

In Camp at Niagara, Butler's Barracks at Rear .... 22 

Military Relics Niagara Historical Society .... 28 

Crown Land Deed 1799 32 

Crown Land Seal-1801 38 

York Pioneers' Cabin, Exhibition Grounds, Toronto ... 42 

An Old Fireplace Modernized 48 

A View of the Niagara, with Grand Island in the Distance . . 52 
Laura Secord's Monument . . . . . . .58 

A Group of Old Newspapers 62 

Leaf from an Old Account Book 68 

An Old-Fashioned Cradle 72 

Box Stove In use for a hundred years 78 

An Old-fashioned Loom ........ 82 

Spinning Flax in the Early Days 88 

Weaver Filling His Quills 88 

A View of the Canadian Side, from the Gate of Fort Niagara . 92 

Soldiers' Monument, Lundy's Lane 98 

The Old Homestead 102 

An Old Family Table . . . 102 

The Old Oaken Bucket 108 

Another View of the Old Homestead 108 

An Old Family Cemetery 112 

An Old Corn Crib . .118 

An Old Cider Press . 118 



Grandfather's Clock ..'.'.'.' 122 

Reflector, Bake Kettle, Tinder Box and Kettle . . . .128 

A Group of Old Family Relics 132 

Old-Time Lighting Utensils 138 

Pewter Ware and Old Utensils . . . . . . .142 

Spinning and Reeling Yarn 148 

Relics of Bygone Days 152 

The Ruins of Fort Erie .158 

Spinning Wheel and Household Utensils 162 

Implements Used in Preparing Flax for Weaving . . .168 

Soap Kettle, Sauce Kettle, Shaving Horse, etc 172 

Spinning Flax The Reel Spinning Wool . . . . .178 
Old Dress, Bonnets and Panama Hat . . . . - . .182 

Some Old Time Articles 188 

Arsenal in Fort George 192 

Fireplace with Old Utensils 198 

List of War Losses, 1812 202 

List of War Losses, 1812 Continued 208 

Village of Queenston and Brock's Monument .... 212 

Brock's Monument 218 

Where Brock Fell . .222 

An Old Tread-mill 228 

Beaver Dams Monument 232 

House Occupied by FitzGibbon at Beaver Dams . . . .238 
Grandfather A Typical U. E. L. Descendant .... 242 
Mouth of the Niagara from Fort Mississauga .... 252 
House at Stony Creek Occupied by American Soldiers in War 

of 1812 248 

Mouth of the Chippawa 25S 

NOTE. All the illustrations in this book are from photographs taken expressly tor 
it, most of them by Mr. E. F. Walker, of Toronto. 





LARGE proportion of the people who 
settled on the frontier of Canada dur- 
ing the earlier days of settlement were 
United Empire Loyalists, those who 
came from the neighboring States of the American 
Union at the close of the Revolutionary War of 1776. 
The first settlement of any note was that made at Adol- 
phustown, on the Bay of Quinte, in June, 1784. After 
that date, settlements grew up on the St. Lawrence 
Niagara and Detroit Rivers, and at Long Point, on Lake 
Erie. The impression is general that there were but a few 
squatters previous to that time. Provincial Government 
affairs, however, being at that period in an unorganized 

condition, such records as are at hand have only the 


reliability of tradition. A number of the first settlers 
were persons who had naturally sought refuge in the 
vicinity of Fort Niagara and other border forts, then in 
the possession of England, from the relentless persecution 
that was waged against British sympathizers intending 
to return home when peace was concluded, as they fully 
expected it would be, in favor of Britain ; but, finding 
the result to be contrary to their expectations, they 
crossed the border and took up land on the Canadian 
side. Colonel Butler and his Rangers were granted a 
large tract of land in the vicinity of what is now the 
town of Niagara. 

The first settlers were a mixed stock of English, Irish, 
Scotch and German, many of whose ancestors had settled 
in the United States, then British territory, a century 
or more previous, some of them probably coming to 
America on the Mayflower, in 1 620. This class of settlers, 
who came mostly from New York, New Jersey and 
Pennsylvania, brought with them the customs, habits and 
style of living of their American forefathers. Being of 
a Conservative type, they preferred a monarchical to a 
republican form of government. After these settlers 
came a large number of Yankees, attracted by the fertile 
lands of Canada ; and, although they were not British in 
sentiment, many of them afterwards became loyal subjects 
of the country, and fought for Britain in the War of 


1812. There were whole settlements of " Pennsylvania 
Dutch " (properly called German), adherents of the Men- 
nonite and Tunker faiths, whose descendants to this day 
make up a large part of the population of Welland, Lin- 
coln, Waterloo and York Counties. There were also large 
settlements of Quakers, particularly in the vicinity of 
Font Hill, near St. Catharines, and along the Bay of 
Quinte, who, like the Mennonites, left the States, fearing 
the Government might insist on their bearing arms. The 
feeling against British sympathizers being so strong, 
there was some talk of compelling all, irrespective of 
their religious belief, to take part in military affairs. 
Many of the Mennonites and Quakers, having been 
granted the religious freedom they desired under British 
rule, were not in sympathy with the Revolutionary 
party. This brought down the wrath of the new Gov- 
ernment upon them, and, although they threatened to 
enact measures that would curtail the freedom of these 
sects, they never carried their threats into execution. 
There were also a few settlers from the British Isles and 
from Germany, but the larger number of this class came 
later on. Many of the British soldiers who had taken 
part in the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, 
having been given free grants of land by the Govern- 
ment, after receiving their discharge, settled in the 


The United Empire Loyalists. 

If honor is a mark of nobility, then the old United 
Empire Loyalists can truly be classed among the first 
aristocracy of Canada, for a more honorable class of 
people never settled in the Province. Steadfast in 
character, true to their principles, loyal to their king, 
they chose to leave their homes and property in the 
United States and come and hew out new homes for 
themselves in the Canadian backwoods rather than 
remain under a government so antagonistic and bitter 
towards the Mother Country they loved. Many of them 
had considerable property, but they preferred to sacrifice 
it all rather than become citizens of a hostile government. 
To be sure the British Government gave them grants of 
land, and furnished many things necessary for begin- 
ning life in a new country so far away from the older 
settled parts ; still it did not begin to repay them for the 
hardships and privations they endured in the early 
days of their settlement. Many of them sundered 
family ties that they might remain true to their con- 
victions and allegiance. As an instance, the writer has 
in mind one family where the mother remained in 
Pennsylvania with several of her children, while the 
father came to Canada with the remaining two, and 
although the mother followed the waggon conveying 
her husband and children away, weeping, and trying to 



prevail on them to remain, it was of no avail. Possibly 
he had good reasons for leaving the country; for the 
Whigs had burned his house, and all there was in it, 
because he sympathized with the Royalist party. 

A sequel to the above took place several summers 
ago, when a party of the descendants of the Pennsyl- 
vania branch of the family visited their Canadian 
cousins, exchanging fraternal greetings, renewing ac- 
quaintance, and endeavoring to perpetuate the love 
and friendship existing between the two branches of 
the family which, though differing in nationality, are 
yet one in blood. 

Mr. Kirby, in his " Annals of Niagara," says that 
" every one of the U. E. Loyalists had a military bear- 
ing, an air of dignity, and a kindly spirit of comradeship, 
derived from dangers and hardships which they had 
shared together." The wealth and aristocracy of the 
Colonies, as a rule, were arrayed on the side of the 
Royalist party, while many of the rebels were persons 
having no great interest at stake. The defeat of their 
party meant no great loss to them, while on the 
other side it meant the loss of all, especially if they 
had been active partisans, or were not willing to 
swear allegiance to the new government. Can we 
wonder at the staunch conservative principles of 
their children and grandchildren who were our 
parents ? To this adherence to the principles of 


monarchical government, as an American author has 
said, " was due the sterling ch aracter and dignity of 
these people." They believed in a principle and they 
fought for it. The old U. E. Loyalists never got over 
their bitterness towards the United States. This antag- 
onism was inherited by their descendants for several 
generations. It was more of a national than an indi- 
vidual hatred, however. The women were equally as 
patriotic and loyal as the men, and you could not offend 
one of them more than by saying anything against 
their country. It is told of one of the women in the 
early days that she would not eat at the same table with 
a Yankee. Her reason for being so bitter was that her 
husband had been shot in cold blood by the rebels 
during the Revolutionary War. Many of these women 
displayed their patriotism and loyalty during the war 
of 1812 by looking after the crops while their husbands 
were away fighting for their country. 

The firmness and dignity of the old U. E. Loyalists 
and their descendants were due to a great extent, no 
doubt, to their military training, for in the fore part of 
the nineteenth century all men between a certain age 
were enrolled in the militia. 

Butler's Rangers. 

Many of the United Empire Loyalists were military 
men who had taken part in the Revolutionary War. 
A large number of those who settled in the vicinity of 


Niagara and in other parts of the Niagara Peninsula had 
formerly belonged to Butler's Rangers, a regiment of 
cavalry who carried on a guerilla warfare against the 
revolutionary party of the United States, their opera- 
tions being confined principally to the eastern parts of 
the States of New York and Pennsylvania. They were 
accused of laying waste the country, destroying property, 
and burning buildings. Many atrocities were laid to 
their charge, however, which were quite unsupported by 
the facts, and where offences were committed the actual 
facts were greatly exaggerated. It is true that war at 
any time is cruel and relentless, and many things are 
done that at another period would be considered bar- 
barous. Most of the Indian tribes of New York State 
sided with Great Britain and made frequent raids on 
the American settlements. It is possible that the onus 
of their evil work may have been placed upon Butler's 
Rangers. In their raids the Rangers were associated 
with Indian allies. It is quite probable that many of 
the atrocities attributed to the Rangers were perpe- 
trated by the Indians connected with them, and whose 
well-known ferocity when on the war-path the Rangers 
themselves were unable to restrain. 

The Indians, it is true, may have been assisted by 
some few cruel white men, fiends in human form, who 
unfortunately got a footing amongst Butler's Rangers ; 
but the general opinion has been long since arrived at 
that most of these stories were gotten up by the Ameri- 


cans in order to excite the American people to revenge. 
General Sullivan, who was sent by the United States 
Government to make raids on the Loyalist settlements 
of New York State, is reported to have been guilty 'of 
just as much cruelty as the Rangers were ever charged 
with. A Ranger descendant told the writer that his father 
always said the stories of the cruelty of Butler's Rangers 
were at first manufactured and afterwards adopted as 
American history ; yet we well know that in American 
history there has been a great deal of falsification of the 
actual facts when relating to anything pertaining to 
Canada, and they even now admit some of the mistakes 
themselves. When war is being waged there is a great 
tendency to exaggerate and falsify, anyway. Take, for 
instance, the reports sent out by the Boers during the late 
Boer-British War in South Africa. It is not denied that 
some of those who had belonged to Butler's Rangers were 
a rough class there are always such who follow the for- 
tunes of war and were known to boast of the cruelties 
they had committed ; but how do we know that they 
were always telling the truth ? They may have told 
these stories to excite the awe and terror of the children 
of the people among whom they lived. We all know the 
proneness of such characters to exaggeration. The poet 
Campbell has given a pathetic description of the descent 
of the Rangers into the Valley of Wyoming, in his poem 
entitled " Gertrude of Wyoming." It was proved to him 


afterwards, however, that the facts upon which he based 
his poem were quite baseless and without foundation. 
Just how much truth there was in the stories of the 
alleged cruelties of these Rangers may never be fully 
known ; but the fact remains, and can be fully vouched 
for by some of the old people still living, that horrid 
stories concerning them, such as the killing of innocent 
women and children, the burning of their homes, dangling 
infant children on their bayonets over the fire, and other 
equally revolting fireside anecdotes of admitted doubtful 
veracity, were common talk among the old settlers, both 
Loyalist and otherwise, in every section of the country, 
and talked and told over and over again, just for talk's 

The common saying that none of the Rangers were 
known to die a natural death was but one amongst the 
many other exaggerations as we know from ocular proof 
to the contrary. As has j ust been said, it is admitted that 
some of the Rangers were of a low type of men. But 
one black sheep or two should not be accepted as true 
representatives of a hardy, courageous and enterprising . 
type of guerilla soldiers. Here is an instance that will 
explain our meaning : One of the old Rangers, who 
lived alone on the Niagara, was the dread of the women 
and children in the neighborhood on account of the 
frightful stories he told. When he died, it is said, the 
coffin would not stay in the ground, but one end kept 


coming to the surface. The superstitious people in the 
neighborhood attributed this fact to his wickedness, 
whereas the real cause was quicksand ! Some few of 
the Loyalists, on account of the hardship and ill-treat- 
ment they were subjected to by the rebel party, were 
filled with the spirit of resentment. And who can 
scarcely wonder at this ? It was the result of despair. 
In one instance, known to the writer, the American 
soldiers came to the .house, and demanded the young 
men of the family ; when told they were away they shot 
the old father of the family, without any provocation, 
on his own threshold. And other cases of this kind, 
equally barbarous and unjustifiable, might be given. 
One thing must ever remain to the credit of the Rangers 
their adherence to principle. 

" Their loyalty was still the same 
Whether they lost or won the game." 

When talking over facts of history that occurred 
during war time a century and a quarter ago. we must 
remember that military discipline and martial law were 
very severe then, much more so than at the present day. 
At that time, even during peace, persons were hung for 
forgery and sheep stealing. Men had no heart or "bowels 
of compassion" ; victory must be gained at all hazards, 
and no matter at what sacrifice. It is said that the 
military men who settled at Niagara were of a stern 


character, and had no conscience when it came to carry- 
ing out military discipline and stratagem.. This was 
the class of men Col. Murray took with him for the at- 
tack on Fort Niagara, on the night of December 19th, 
1813. The orders were that not a soul should live be- 
tween the landing-place and the fort. This was to pre- 
vent anyone from notifying the garrison of the fort of 
the approach of the enemy. The attack on Fort Nia- 
gara was said to have been in retaliation for the burning 
of Niagara by the Americans. The inhabitants were 
only given half an hour's notice by the American gen- 
eral, and that on a bitter Cold December day. It can 
safely be said of the descendants of most of these old 
soldiers of the Revolution, however, that they have 
proved an honorable and honest class of men in every 
relation of life. 

The Mennonites and Tunkers. 

The Mennonites were among the earliest settlers in 
Upper Canada. Many of them settled in Welland 
and Lincoln counties previous to 1800, and in that 
year their settlement in Waterloo County began, Water- 
loo Township being bought by a company of these 
people. Markham, Vaughan, and Whitchurch town- 
ships, in York County, were settled largely by members 
of this sect. Through marriage and social intercourse 
with English-speaking people their language and pecu- 


liar customs are fast disappearing, and it looks as if in 
the course of a very few years there would be nothing 
left but their family name and their religion, which 
some of them still' adhere to, to distinguish them from 
other people. 

The early Mennonite settlers must not be classed, 
however, with the Russian Mennonites who settled in 
Manitoba more than a quarter of a century ago, although 
originally of the same stock. Although being like the 
Quakers, a non-fighting class of people, we think the 
early settlers of this class might properly be called 
United Empire Loyalists. Their sympathies in the 
Revolutionary War were certainly with Great Britain, 
although, in consonance with their religious belief, they 
refused to bear arms for either party. They were 
honest, God-fearing, industrious people, many of whom 
left Pennsylvania and came to Canada for the reason 
that the British Government granted them exemption 
from military service, and allowed them to make an 
affirmation instead of taking an oath or making an 
affidavit in the courts, which privilege they were not 
sure of being able to retain under the government of 
the United States. 

Their religion was opposed to war and going to law. 
In this respect they resembled the Quakers. Their 
ancestors emigrated from Switzerland and the Palatinate 
along the Rhine early in the eighteenth century, and 


settled in the commonwealths of Pennsylvania and 
Maryland. Many of their descendants are to be found 
yet in those states, some of them still retaining the 
language, religion, style of dress, habits and customs of 
their German ancestors, although for the last fifty years 
there has been a gradual breaking away from the 
primitive customs which their forefathers brought with 
them from the fatherland and maintained so well for 
more than a hundred years. 

It is no longer considered wrong for their children to 
marry English-speaking people of other faiths. At one 
time if one of the family married outside of their own 
people they were sure to incur the anger and estrange- 
ment of their parents. It was no uncommon thing to 
find young people who had never entered any church 
but that of their own denomination. Although not by 
any means an ignorant class of people, they were a 
simple-minded folk; all the education that was considered 
necessary among them being a good understanding of 
the three R's : " Reading, 'Biting, and 'Rithmetic." 
Many of them were great readers ; their reading, how- 
ever, being confined to books of a religious character. 
Although not deeply versed in learning, they were and 
are a thinking class of people. As is quite apparent 
from the thrifty manner in which they conduct their 
business, which was and is chiefly in the agricultural 


The Tunkers (or Brethren) belonged to the same race 
of people and spoke the same language as the Mennon- 
ites, most of them in the early days being converts from 
the faith of the latter. Their customs and habits of 
living were similar. Their style of dress, however, was 
somewhat different. In religion they differed chiefly in 
the form of worship and tenets of their faith. 


Military Relics Niagara Historical Society. 




S we all know, a hundred years ago there 
were no railway or steamboat lines on 
which to travel. Between the Canadian 
border and the frontier settlements in 
the States stretched two, three and four hundred 
miles of dense forest, inhabited by wandering tribes 
of Indians and infested by ferocious wild animals 
in great abundance. It was the practice of the emi- 
grants from the States to pack all their belongings, or 
at least all of them they could take with them, in 
canvas-covered wagons, similar to those used by gyp- 
sies at the present day. In these conveyances they 
lived while on their long and dangerous journey. 
Among the " Pennsylvania Dutch " the " Conestoga 
wagon " was used ; its box was oval or boat shaped. 
This style of wagon has long since become obsolete. 
Indeed it was only in general use among these people. 
The wagon was usually drawn by a yoke of oxen, for 


horses were not suited for such travel. Many of the 
early settlers, however, made the journey on horseback. 

There being no public roads through the forest, the 
emigrant was obliged to follow Indian trails, the course 
of rivers, or " blazes " (marks on the trees), made by 
some previous traveller. Later on, after roads had been 
constructed (the government frequently sending men 
out to slash down the trees on the routes surveyed for 
the leading roads and clear the way for the wagon 
track), the emigrants came with horse teams, four horses 
being usually attached to a wagon. As may well be 
imagined the journey was not only full of danger at 
every step, but was also tiresome in the extreme. The 
women and young children suffered most, but they 
courageously encountered all the hardships of the way 
to reach the "promised land," where they would be per- 
mitted to live free and peacefully. It was a lonesome 
and melancholy sight to watch the wagons slowly wend 
their way between the logs and stumps of the newly- 
cut wagon road on their way to Canada. These journeys 
occupied three and four and sometimes eight and ten 
weeks. The passage through the unbroken forest, over 
the mountains and through the passes, being so slow and 
tedious, the journey necessarily lasted all the longer. 

Usually several, sometimes quite a number, of families 
came in company, and thus by mutual help got over 
difficulties which otherwise might have been unsur- 


mountable. The emigrants generally took a cow or two 
with them to help them begin life in the new country, 
as well as to furnish milk and even butter on the way. 
The milk in some cases was hung in a leather bag at 
the back of the wagon, and it is said that the motion 
of the wagon would frequently churn it into butter. 
Chickens, too, were also taken in numbers, and these 
supplied them with welcome eggs, so that the weary 
emigrants were not obliged to be without their custom- 
ary meal of ham and eggs. At the dawn of day, in 
their encampment in the woods, could be heard the 
crowing of chanticleer as he made the welkin ring in 
depths of wood with the familiar notes of welcome to 
the opening dawn. 

The journey from Southern Pennsylvania led through 
the Alleghany Mountains. At one point the pass was 
so narrow that only one team could go through at a 
time. When two teams happened to meet one of the 
wagons had to be taken apart and carried past the 
other on men's shoulders. When they came to streams 
which could not be forded, if a scow to cross was not 
obtainable, trees were quickly cut down and a raft con- 
structed for conveying them over the stream. As the 
stream of emigrants increased, ferries were placed and 
attended to by persons living in the vicinity of these 
crossing -places. Some of the old ferry boats were flat- 
bottomed boats propelled by horse-power, the horse 


having to walk on a tread-mill, or to walk round and 
revolve a post which connected with machinery, and 
which kept the paddle wheels in motion. The rope and 
capstan was also used in the early days for crossing the 
rivers and small lakes. The rope, attached to a revolving 
post on board, was run out and fastened to a tree or post 
on shore, or attached to a heavy anchor and carried for- 
ward by a small boat the length of the rope and then 
dropped to the bottom. The post on board was then 
turned by a horse or by hand power, which caused the 
boat to be pulled ahead as the rope was coiled around 
the capstan. 

Another method of propulsion, in certain places, was 
by stretching a rope tightly across a stream and fastening 
it to a post or tree on both sides. A pole or stem with 
a roller on the end stood on the prow of the boat, the 
boat being pushed out from the shore. The force of the 
stream caused the roller to revolve and thus carried the 
boat across. Still another form of power was by running 
the rope through a hole at each end of the boat and 
pulling the boat across by hand. Along the Niagara 
River, Niagara, Queenston and Fort Erie were the prin- 
cipal crossing places. Buffalo, a century ago, consisted 
only of a few huts. The locality being low and marshy 
was considered undesirable for farming purposes. 

In coasting or travelling up the large lakes and rivers 
lar_je canoes and bateaux, long flat -bottom eel boats with 



pointed ends, propelled by oars and sails, and in rapids 
and shallow places by long poles, were made use of. 
The Durham and Schenectady boats used on the St. Law- 
rence before the days of the steamboat, were only a 
form of bateaux. The canoes used for transporting 
merchandise were quite large, some of them being four- 
teen or fifteen feet long and three or four feet wide. It 
required four or five men to paddle these canoes when 
laden with goods. It was by means of large canoes, 
also called bateaux, that the French in the early days of 
Canada transported their furs and merchandise from 
one place to another, in many cases hundreds of miles. 
When the streams did not intersect, or falls and rapids 
occurred, portages were made at the most convenient 
places, when the canoes and bateaux and their cargoes 
were dragged or carried overland and again launched. 
If the portage was a long one, as for instance that 
between Queenston and Chippewa, when the traffic 
became large, the goods were conveyed overland in 
wagons, people living in the vicinity of the portage 
owning a large number of wagons and doing a lucrative 
business. The lakes and rivers of the country formed a 
waterway which was found very convenient in the early 
days when the country was covered with swamp and 
forest; they formed the only real public highways. 
They affbrdel a speedy means of transit for the time, 
much preferable to the slow and perilous traffic over- 


land, where rivers had to be crossed and other dangers 
encountered. Before the days of steamboats and rail- 
ways the bateaux were towed up the St. Lawrence and 
along the shores of Lake Ontario by horses and cattle 
when bringing emigrants and merchandise from Mont- 
real and Quebec. It was usual for the merchants to visit 
these places in the spring and buy goods and supplies 
sufficient to last them till the following year. 

Appearance of the Country. 

A solitude of unbroken, silent woods and bush were 
the chief features of the new country out of which 
the settlers felt that they had to carve homes and 
build shelters for themselves and their families, and 
bravely did they face the stern and repulsive realities, 
which meant a lifetime of unwearied toil now before 
them. The level stretches were much broken and 
intersected by rivers, creeks and lakes, hills and 
slopes, low swamps and marshes. Much of the 
latter features have disappeared and given place to well- 
tilled fields, smiling pasture land, fruitful orchards, 
and comfortable, happy homes, through the hard toil of 
the settler. Timber encumbered the ground, the difficulty 
of the settler being how to get rid of it. The kinds of 
timber varied according to the locality and soil in the 
low places being found the cedar, swamp elm, black 
ash, willow and tamarack, and in the dry, elevated locali- 


ties the birch, beech, maple, oak, pine, spruce, hemlock 
walnut, etc. 

A considerable portion of the country along the 
Niagara, and between Lakes Erie and Ontario is low and 
level. When first settled it consisted largely of marsh 
land, in fact, some of it remained in that condition until 
recent years, when large draining works were put 
through by the Government for utilizing tracts which 
formerly were of no value except for growing huckle- 
berries, people coming for miles around to get their 
yearly supply on the marshes. These low places were also 
at that time great breeding-places for rattlesnakes. To 
avoid the swampy land as much as possible, the early 
settlers selected land bordering on the lakes, rivers and 
creeks, where it could be conveniently drained. The 
creeks being fed by the swamps and marshes were much 
larger than they are to-day the clearing up of the 
country having caused many of them to become dry. 

Much of the land lying -farther back in the country, 
on account of its swampy condition and liability to frost, 
remained unsettled for many years. Since it has been 
settled and drained it has turned out to be the best of 
soil for farming purposes. The condition described 
above applied to many other sections of Canada as well, 
for even in the oldest-settled parts, fifty years ago, there 
was a great deal of uncleared land, the earliest settlers 
even then having considerable bush at the back of their 


farms. The low price of farm produce in the early 
days did not encourage the farmer to hurry up the 
clearing of his land, so that he could raise grain and 
fatten cattle for the foreign market as he does now so 

The Indians. 

The Indians never gave much trouble to the early 
settlers of Canada, for the British Government always 
treated them fairly. Being of a nomadic nature it was 
customary for them to wander around the country and 
barter with the people, exchanging their baskets, bead- 
work, etc., for provisions and clothing. Here and 
there through the woods would frequently be found a 
bark wigwam and the marks of an Indian camp. The 
early settlers would often allow them to come into their 
houses and stay all night, lying on the floor before the 
fire wrapped up in o their blankets. If they were hungry 
they would be made welcome and have food, etc., given 
them. It was quite a novel sight to watch them seated 
around a big dish of porridge or soup, all eating out of 
the same dish. 

The Indians, as has just been said, were well treated 
by the early settlers, and it is characteristic of the 
Indian that he will remain a true friend to those who 
deal honestly and fairly by him. It was quite common 
for an Indian chief to bestow a belt of wampum upon a 


white man for favors received. This belt, if hung in an 
exposed place, served as a protection to the settler's 
house ; for if any members of that tribe happened to be 
on a marauding excursion they would do no harm to the 
house in which the belt of wampum was hung as a token 
of peace and friendship. In the early days the Indian 
always carried his blanket with him wrapped around 
his body. In travelling they walked OD e after the other 
in Indian file. Sometimes as many as forty or fifty of 
them would be seen in a line. They paddled over the 
lakes and rivers in canoes made of birch bark. Their 
customs, habits, mode of living, dwellings, etc., varied 
according to the tribe and the locality in which they 
located. Basket-making and bead- work were their chief \ 
industries. As a rule most of this work was done by 
the squaws, the men only exerting themselves when ' 
fishing and hunting. Seated on the ground before the 
camp-fire, with their legs crossed one over the other and 
a bundle of green splints beside them, the Indians could 
be seen making baskets. They would take the splints 
one by one from the bundle and weave them into a mat 
to form the bottom of the basket, sufficient length of the 
splint being left to bend sharply at the edge and turn up 
to help form the sides and ends ; between these were 
woven more splints until the framework was finished in 
the shape desired. A heavy splint or gunwale was put 
on the inside at the top to form the rim of the basket. 


Around this the ends of the upright splints were wrapped. 
A heavy splint was placed on the outside of the rim, and 
lashed with a lighter splint to keep it in place. Some of 
the splints before being used were soaked in a solution 
of Indian berries, the solution staining them blue or red, 
the two principal colors used, according to the strength 
obtained by boiling. Sumach bobs or blossoms were 
sometimes added to the solution to obtain a drab color. 
The wood out of which the splints were made was rim 
ash (second growth ash) usually five or six inches in 
diameter, cut into lengths about six feet long, first 
soaked in water (thrown into a creek or brook), after 
which it was taken out and pounded or hammered with 
a big wooden maul until the fibre of the wood became 
loose, when it was easily peeled off and cut into strips of 
various widths. 

The Indians were expert at making moccasins out of ' 
deerskin. The skin, after being cut the size required, 
was sewed with strings or thongs made of finer leather, 
and ornamented with colored porcupine quills, and some- 
times with beads. Their beads and colored cloths, of 
which they made their fancy work, were obtained from 
the Indian traders. Their work of this kind was varied, 
and ofttimes displayed taste and skill. There had been a 
Government depot at Niagara for years for distributing 
supplies among the Indians. Here they brought their 
furs and exchanged them for merchandise. 


Previous to the advent of the settler many of the In- 
dians had fields of corn. They ground the grain in rude 
stone bowls into a coarse meal, which they made into 
cakes and baked in the hot ashes. They also raised beans 
and pumpkins, but they lived chiefly by the spoils of 
fishing and hunting. 

In certain Indian resorts are found pieces of pottery, 
which, though rude in design, show that they knew some- 
thing of the art of making vessels out of clay. They 
were expert in the use of the arrow, the heads of which 
were tipped with pieces of flint carved out of stone. 

The Indian language is very expressive, one word con- 
veying a great deal of meaning. Their grunt of ap- 
proval is " Nee." They applaud their speakers by 
exclaiming, " Ho ! ho ! Ho ! ho ! " 

The primitive red men tattooed their bodies and 
faces, and when on the war path smeared them- 
selves with different colored pigments. Their hair 
they tied in a knot on the top of their heads ; 
into this bunch of hair was stuck feathers, which gave 
them a wild and fierce look. The noble red man, as we 
see him to-day, is certainly a different individual to 
what his ancestors were a century or two ago, and it can 
scarcely be claimed that he has been improved by the 
white man's civilization. 


The Wild Animals. 

In some localities wild animals were quite numerous 
in the early days of settlement. As the country 
became more thickly settled, however, they gradually 
disappeared. Deer_ were frequently seen stalking 
through the woods, and every now and then a bear, 
might be seen crossing the path of the settler. The 
grandmother of the writer used to say that frequently 
at night they could hear the wolves gnawing and 
crunching the bones that had been thrown outside. 
A friend related to the writer that sixty years ago, 
when his father-in-law and mother-in-law with their 
baby child were driving through the woods, not far 
from Toronto, on a visit to a friend, they were sur- 
rounded by wolves. They were obliged to drive furi- 
ously to get away from the pack, throwing out the 
buffalo robes and blankets for the wolves to tear up, 
and so delay their oncoming. They were followed 
right up to the door of their friend's house by the 

The sheep had to be gathered into folds at night to 
keep them from the wolves, and occasionally bruin 
would get into the pig pen and carry off one of the 
pigs. It is told that sometimes the early settlers carried 
torches through the woods at night to frighten the wild 
animals away. 


In order to help rid the country of these pests the 
government granted a bounty, i.e., so much per head for 
the scalps of all wolves that had been killed. Their 
pelts could often be seen nailed up, flesh side out, to the 
sides of the old log houses, or salted, stretched on 
boards, and hung up to be dried and cured by the sun. 

Besides the wild animals above mentioned there were 
many others. The wild cat, which made its home in 
the dark woods and swamps, was the dread of the 
settler. Porcupines were quite common, and occasion- 
ally the house-dog would come home after an encounter 
with one of these animals with his mouth full of quills, 
which it required pincers to draw out. The squirrels, 
red, gray and black, were to be found in abundance. 
Snakes in some places were very unpleasantly plentiful, 
among them being the rattler, which still makes its 
home in the crevices of the rocks lining the Niagara 
gorge. Snapping turtles were numerous in certain 
localities. Foxes were also quite common, their bark 
being heard nightly in the clearings. The racoons in- 
fested the swamps and in the fall of the year made 
annoying raids on the corn fields. The skunk and 
weasel depopulated the chicken roosts. Rabbits and 
hares were very plentiful and helped out many an enjoy- 
able rneal. The otter and beaver were also to be found 
in many of their favorite haunts along the small creeks ; 
even now are sometimes found small cleared spots, 


called beaver meadows, where these animals formerly 
cut down the trees and built a dam. 

The whole country, it may be said, was at that period 
a hunter's paradise. The settler did not have to go far 
to bag game for the dinner table. He could drop his 
axe, stroll off into the woods with his gun over his 
shoulder, and soon return with a supply of fresh meat 
for dinner. Birds of all kinds were very numerous; 
the eagle could often be seen flying over the tops of the 
highest trees ; the caw, caw, caw of the crow was always 
a familiar sound. The turkeys, ducks, partridges and 
pheasants were also very plentiful in places. 

It is said that deer were so numerous that they could 
sometimes be seen pasturing with the cattle, and had 
been known to come home with them at night. 

The settlers were frequently obliged to make fires at 
night near the house to scare the wolves away, so badly 
did their nightly howling frighten the women and chil- 
dren of the family. A snow-storm could invariably be 
foretold by the howling of the wolves, which at such 
times became louder and more prolonged. 




HE first houses and barns of the settlers 
were built of logs. When a new settler 
came into a neighborhood, the neighbors, 
if there were any within a convenient 
distance, would assemble at the "raising" and help 
the newcomer to rear his domicile. Some of these 
houses were substantially built, but the first put up, 
being often erected in a hurry and without any assist- 
ance, were only temporary structures or cabins, twelve 
to sixteen feet square, one story high, built shanty 
style, i.e., with the roof sloping one way and covered 
with bark or small hollowed basswood logs, laid in tile 
fashion. A small window, containing six or eight lights 
of glass (sometimes oiled paper), furnished light, although 
square holes closed by a shutter were sometimes made 
to take the place of windows. The chimneys were 
built of sticks and clay, bricks not being procurable, 
and lumber being scarce, the doors were made by split- 


ting pieces of timber into rough boards, and in some 
cases the hinges and latch were made of wood. The 
floor was made of split logs,* and sometimes the earth, 
packed down hard, served as a floor. There is a tradi- 
tion in the writer's family that in the pioneer house of 
his paternal great-grandfather, built in 1800, a big 
stump, hewn flat on top, standing in the centre of the 
house, was used as a table ; rough benches served as 
seats, and there being no chimney for the first few 
months after occupation, the smoke escaped through 
a hole in the bark roof. The logs comprising the walls 
of the old log houses were notched so as to fit into each 
other at the corners of the building, with the ends of 
the logs left projecting a foot or two. After the build- 
ing was completed, these logs were usually sawn off. 
The cracks between the logs were chinked, i.e., filled 
with wedge-shaped pieces of wood and plastered with 
clay, moss often being stuffed in temporarily to keep 
out the cold. Many of these primitive houses contained 
only one room, one end being occupied by the fireplace 
and the other by the beds of the family. In the two- 
storey houses, in many cases, the upper storey or loft 
was reached by a ladder, sometimes from the outside. 

These old log houses were quite comfortable, and 
some of the old settlers made shift in them for years 

* Called puncheons, three or four inches in thickness, hewn smooth on one 
side by the broadaxe. 


when they might have had better. Fifty years ago 
even, many of them were still to be seen standing in 
the oldest settled parts. This tardiness in doing away 
with the old log houses was due partly to the fact that 
they were exempt from the taxation that was imposed 
upon stone, frame and brick structures. 

The furniture in these primitive houses was very rude 
and plain, and did not consist of much more than a 
bedstead, chairs, or stools, and a table, all home-made, 
with shelves on pegs in the wall for holding the dishes. 

The Fireplaces. 

A conspicuous part of the old farm house was the 
large red brick chimney containing the. fireplaces, one 
or two on each floor, built up from the ground, 
the lower part being of stone. Very often they were 
built on the outside, but against the house at the end. 
A crane, with a number of hooks for hanging the 
kettles on, swung back and forth in the kitchen fire- 
place. Here was done all the cooking for the family, 
and although not to be compared with stoves as a means 
of heating, our forefathers enjoyed the comfort of the 
old fireplace. It was, indeed, a cheerful sight during the 
long winter evenings to see the family seated around 
the fire, with the light from the burning logs illuminat- 
ing their beaming, healthy, happy and satisfied counten- 
ances, the men-folks smoking or reading, the women 


knitting or sewing, the children listening to stories of 
bygone days, which were being told them by their 
mother or father, or the aged grandmother, grandfather 
or perhaps by some stranger, who might be, for the 
occasion, enjoying the hospitality of their home. The 
social life of the fireplace days has disappeared. News- 
papers and books have taken the place of the family 
chat of the fireside. The old folks do not take the same 
interest in telling of the days gone by, or in relating 
folk-lore, or the children in listening as they did when 
sitting around the old fireplace. Our brilliant means of 
illuminating our houses has now, it may be said, turned 
night into day, so that the people do not give their 
evenings up to rest and social intercourse as much as 
they did in the days of the candle and hearth fire. The 
appurtenances of a well-equipped fireplace were the 
hand-bellows for blowing the embers into a flame, the 
tongs, the long-handled shovel, the poker, the spit, for 
roasting fowl over the hot fire, the fire irons or andirons 
(sometimes called fire dogs), for placing the sticks of 
wood on, so that they would burn more easily, and the 
fender in front of the fireplace. On the mantel over the 
fireplace were placed the brass candlesticks and some of 
the family ornaments and bric-a-brac. In the summer 
time the crickets got into the fireplace and broke the 
monotony of the evening by their chirping; sometimes 
they would venture out of their hiding-places on to the 


hearth, when the playful kittens would gambol around 
them and stealthily grab some of them up. 

Great chunks of wood were burnt in the fireplace, the 
largest, called the " back log," being placed behind. 
The back log was sometimes so large that in some of the 
primitive houses it was drawn into the house by a horse. 
About the large kitchen chimneys, in winter, hung 
squashes to keep them from frost, and guns, to keep 
them from rust. In front of the chimney, 011 poles 
suspended from the ceiling by cords, hung chunks of 
beef and venison, and strings of apples to dry. Some- 
times pieces of meat were hung up to dry inside the 
capacious chimney itself, far enough away from the fire 
to prevent them from being roasted, and yet not far 
enough for them to become blackened by the smoke. 

The first chimneys were built of sticks and clay, as 
bricks were not then procurable. A framework of 
sticks was well plastered on the outside and inside with 
clay mixed with straw, which, in time, by the heat from 
the fire, became almost as hard as stone. These chimneys 
were always built on the outside, probably to render 
them safer from fire. In a song sung by the young 
folks years ago in one of their games this chimney was 
referred to thus : 

" Sticks and clay will wash away, 
March on, my ladies, on ! " 


The Felling of the Trees. 

Considerable of the time in the winter was spent by 
the pioneer in felling the trees, preparatory to clearing 
the land. The sound of the chopping and the crashing 
.noise made by the falling trees, as they yielded to the 
sturdy strokes of the woodman's axe, could be heard in 
all directions. In the fall of the year, previous to this, 
the " underbrushing " was done. This consisted in cut- 
ting down the small trees and bushes and throwing 
them together into piles, so that they would not be in 
the way of the chopper. The trees were chopped so that 
they fell in a pile or " winrow." During a dry spell in 
summer, a day was set for the " burn," when the piles in 
the " fallow " were set on fire. After this, what re- 
mained was cut into logging lengths, a logging bee 
made, and these lengths drawn together by oxen, and 
again made into piles and burnt. The chunks which 
remained after this second burning were collected by the 
farmer and his men (the women folks and children often 
assisting at the "chunking") into little piles, and once 
more set fire to and kept burning by heaping up the 
burning fragments and pieces of log until they were all 
reduced to ashes. The brush, consisting of the limbs 
and branches, was collected into separate piles and 
burnt. In order to hasten the clearing of the land, and 
save labor the farmer would often convert part of his 

An Old Fireplace Modernized. 


woods into a "slashing," by chopping the trees down, 
and allowing them to remain for a few years in this fallen 
condition, to be acted upon by decay. Sometimes he 
would "girdle the trees," i.e., cut off a ring of bark 
around the tree, so as to prevent the return of the sap 
from the branches to the roots in the fall of the year. 
In consequence of this the trees would die and fall to 
the ground in the course of a year or two. What had 
not fallen in three years' time were cut down. To save 
the time and labor of cutting the fallen trees into 
lengths suitable for being drawn together by the oxen, 
they were often " niggered," i.e., burnt in two, by placing 
small pieces of wood across the larger logs and setting 
them on fire. 

The Stumping. 

After the land was cleared of the timber, the only 
obstacle remaining was the stumps. They did not pre- 
vent the farmer from cropping the land, however, the 
three-cornered drag being made as a means of har- 
rowing up the land between the stumps, and the 
grub hoe or mattock * for getting out the roots, although 
after the first crop the ground was usually allowed to 
remain in an uncultivated state until after many of the 
stumps had been removed. The hardwood stumps 
usually rotted, out in the course of three, four or five 

A mattock was a hoe and axe combined. 


years, or became loose so that they could be easily pulled 
out by the oxen, the larger ones being burnt out by 
piling brush around them and setting them on fire. The 
pine stumps were not got rid of nearly so easily, but 
would remain undecayed in the ground for twenty years 
or more, the pitch in the wood acting as a preservative 
and preventing decay. The pine trees were not usually 
as close together as the other trees, and very frequently 
were found growing among trees of other kinds. To 
get rid of these almost everlasting pine stumps it was 
necessary to resort to something besides decay and fire. 
To dig them out would take too long, although that was 
frequently done. Sometimes blasting was resorted to. 
Holes were bored in the stump with an auger, powder 
was placed in these holes and exploded by means of a 
fuse. This was a better plan than digging, although 
not suited for decayed stumps. After the blasting the 
roots near the surface had to be dug out and cut off. 

The best device for ridding the land of pine stumps 
was the stumping machine. This took the stump out 
almost intact. All that had to be done by way of pre- 
paration was the cutting off of some of the larger roots. 
The first appliance for pulling out the stumps consisted 
only of a good strong logging chain, and a pole from 
twelve to fifteen feet in length and six to eight inches in 
diameter. The chain was fastened around the stump, 
but slack enough to permit of the end of the pole or 


lever being inserted between it and the stump. To the 
other end of the pole was hitched a yoke of oxen, which, 
on being driven ahead, twisted or upset the stump from 
its place in the ground. This plan of pulling stumps 
was only suited to the smaller ones. It was the stump- 
ing machine that pulled out all sizes, by means of a screw 
fastened to a framework placed over the stump, and 
attached to a chain placed around it. Above the machine 
was a long pole fastened to the screw. A horse hitched 
to the other end of the pole was driven round the 
machine and elevated screw, stump and all. After the 
pine stumps were taken out, they were either made into 
piles and burnt or placed in rows and made to serve as 
fences. When properly made, these stump fences were 
as secure a fence as could be got, and were very lasting. 
In sections of the country where there was considerable 
pine timber these fences might be seen extending for 




HEN making a settlement the first settlers 
usually selected the best land situated on 
the borders of the rivers and lakes. The 
Niagara River being a narrow body of 
water, many of the emigrants from the States crossed 
the frontier at some point along this river, and made 
choice of locations along its banks, so that it was not long 
before a line of settlement extended from Niagara to Fort 
Erie. As so many rods along the banks of a large stream 
is a government reserve, the old road along the river 
might be called a government road. It facilitated the 
transportation or conveyance of troops from Fort Erie to 
Fort George, a necessity in itself in those troublous 
times succeeding the Revolutionary War, and although 
it .followed the windings of the river, it became the 
main highway for travel for many years. Of late years 
more direct roads have been made further back in the 


country, but in picturesqueness and beauty they are not 
to be compared with the old river road, although it has 
been getting so very much narrower in places caused by 
the constant washing away of its banks. Indeed, it is 
now likely to soon lose its quaint beauty, for a line of 
electric cars is being talked of to run from the village 
of Fort Erie to the Falls. 

For years, and within the recollection of a few of the 
oldest inhabitants, this old road was the route for a line 
of stage coaches running from Niagara town to Fort 
Erie village. At that time there was a number of hotels 
scattered along the river, but since the stage coaches 
have been done away with most of these have also dis- 

Within the memory of the writer's mother, who was 
born in 1828, much of the bank along the river has 
been washed away, and in many places the military 
road of a hundred years ago now lies under water. To 
prevent the bank from washing away in front of his 
farm the writer's grandfather planted a row of willow 
trees close together along the edge of the water. The 
river road is rendered very pretty in places by the tall 
poplars and maples planted by our forefathers fifty and 
one hundred years ago. Familiar to the writer is the 
old maple tree in front of the old homestead, which was 
a good-sized tree three-quarters of a century ago, and 


still blossoms in beauty and strength. It tempts him 
to exclaim : 

" Woodman, spare that tree, 

Touch not a single bough ; 
In youth, it sheltered me, 
And I'll protect it now. 

" 'T was my forefather's hand 

That placed it in this spot, 
So woodman, let it stand, 
Thy axe shall harm it not." 

Long may its fine spreading branches be protected from 
the depredations of the despoiler. In the early days it 
was a great hindrance to the lumbermen, when towing 
their rafts of logs up the river from Chippawa, as they 
were obliged to unhitch their horses in order to get 
around it. 

The Wayside Tavern. 

Situated here and there, at convenient distances along 
the leading roads, were to be seen the country taverns. 
Some of them were fine, imposing edifices, although in 
the earlier days many of them were built of logs. They 
did not partake of the nature of saloons as much as the 
country taverns of the present day, but were built ex- 
pressly for furnishing accommodation and shelter for 
man and beast, as well as refreshment, for in those days, 


there being no railways, all the traffic was over the pub- 
lic roads. Everything had to be conveyed overland by 
wagons ; a great many farmers had to team their pro- 
duce many miles to the nearest market town. These 
country hotels, or inns, were patronized largely by the 
immigrants coming into the country, of which there was 
at that time a constant stream. The innkeeper did not 
always depend on the inn for his living, many of them 
having farms in connection therewith. Liquor in the 
early days was considered more of a necessity by the 
people than it is now. The temperance agitation not 
having commenced, it was the custom for all to drink. 
Even prominent members of churches " kept tavern " and 
religious services were frequently held there. Most of the 
people kept liquor in their houses, and many of them 
served it at their table, but strange to say, there was no 
more (perhaps less) drunkenness than there is now. Pos- 
sibly one reason was because the people were obliged to 
work hard and had little time for leisure, and less money 
to spend, for after they became better circumstanced 
the drinking custom became more alarming. It is true 
some people drank to excess, but as long as they 
attended to their business it was not considered wrong. 
The art of adulterating liquor being then unknown, the 
same harm did not seem to result from drinking to ex- 
cess as in later days. It was not considered necessary 
to adulterate whiskey in those early days, for the pure 


article could be obtained at a trifling cost, say, from 
fifteen to fifty cents a gallon, There was no Internal 
Revenue tax imposed upon its manufacture as at present. 
In some localities the people were very temperate, very 
few people drinking to excess, those who did so being 
considered as lacking in sense. 

In the early times the tavern was the centre of social 
life in the neighborhood. The men would congregate 
there and acquaint themselves with the latest news of 
the day, talk politics, have a few glasses of grog, and 
even if they did become a little tipsy it was thought 
nothing of. 

Over the driving-shed, in connection with many of 
these country hotels, there was usually a large hall, 
in which the annual ball was held. It was also engaged 
by travelling theatrical troupes, lecturers, phrenologists, 
etc., and was often used for local public and political 
meetings, and even, as already remarked, for Sabbath 

The stage coaches running between the different 
towns made these hotels their stopping-places. It was 
here they let off and took on their passengers and lug- 
gage. Somewhere on the walls of the hotel shed were 
posted colored bills of the coming circus. These pictures 
of animals, clowns, actors, etc., filled the small boy with 
wonder, and gave him something to think and talk 
about for days, as was only naturally to be expected. 


The Corduroy and Other Roads. 

Some of the first roads in the country were not much 
more than paths through the woods, with a piece of 
bark cut off the sides of the trees here and there to point 
out the way.* After a while a few trees were cut down 
along the road, and the strip of sky showing between 
the tree-tops on each side of the road would indicate 
the route, for the marks made by the wheels of the 
occasional waggon were soon grown over with grass 
In swampy, marshy places, the roads were bridged over 
with corduroy. This was done by laying logs of cedar, 
or some other wood, six or eight inches in diameter, 
close together, across the road. Sometimes these cordu- 
roy roads would extend for as much as a couple of miles, 
where the nature of the causeway required. They fairly 
jolted the life out of one with the constant bump, bump, 
bump, they gave when driving over them. In the course 
of a few years they were usually covered over with 
ground, which helped to make them a little more passable. 
Some of the first main roads running through the coun- 
try were made of plank ; sleepers were put down, and 
four to six-inch plank nailed on them.-j- Macadamized 
roads were afterwards introduced, but as they were 

* Blazed. 

t A plank road ran between Trenton and Belleville, a distance 
of twelve miles. One of the first macadamized roads was that 
between Napanee and Kingston. 


expensive roads to build, the right of building and 
operating them was granted to private companies, who 
were allowed the privilege of erecting toll gates and 
levying toll on all teams passing through. In this 
way they earned a dividend on the money invested, 
and paid the running expenses of the road. In the early 
days, before the era of railroads, when there was so 
much overland traffic over the public highways, this 
may have been a good way of securing good roads, but 
nowadays it would seem like an imposition, and we are 
pleased to know that of late years the toll-gate nuisance 
has been gradually done away with, so that now there 
are very few toll-gates left in the country. 

The Old Stage Coach. 

Before the era of railroads the general public travelled 
by means of stage coaches, regular lines of coaches 
running between the different frontier towns. The 
coaches being heavy and cumbersome, and the roads 
frequently very bad, especially in the spring and fall, 
they were usually drawn by four horses, a change or 
relay of horses being made at certain places along the 
route. They were obliged to travel fast to make good 
time, in order to connect with other lines at the various 
junctions, and, if mail coaches, to fulfil their contract 
with the Government for carrying the mails. The 
trunks and valises, or carpet bags, were piled on top or 

Laura Second's Monument. 


on a rack behind. It must have been a very tedious 
way of travelling. How much we, who live in an age 
of steam and electricity, with our rapid modes of transit, 
finely lighted and comfortably heated cars, have to be 
thankful for ; and yet many of us have yet to learn 
how to properly appreciate and enjoy the privileges we 
have. An aged Toronto gentleman ..told the writer that 
he remembered when it took eight days to travel from 
Montreal to Kingston by stage, a distance of 180 miles. 
The stages often got stuck in mudholes, and the passen- 
gers were then obliged to alight and help pry the coach 
out with fence-rails and wooden levers. 

Horseback Riding. 

Horseback riding was quite common among persons 
of both sexes in the early days. It formed one of the 
chief diversions of the young people-* A number of 
them would frequently gather at a friend's house and go 
out together for a ride. Every farmer kept a saddle or 
two for the men, and a side-saddle for the ladies to use. 
Horseback riding was the most convenient means of 
travelling through the pathless woods. Some of the old 
settlers, when visiting their friends so far away as Penn- 
sylvania, used to travel back and forth in this manner. 
The early Methodist minister, or circuit rider, with his 
saddle-bags containing his Bible and hymn-book, a valise 

* Called riding parties. 


with his clothing and an umbrella tied on the pommel, 
was quite a familiar figure on the roads. The roads, in 
consequence of poor drainage, were very bad in the early 
days, and for that reason travelling on horseback was 
the easiest and quickest means of transit. It was not 
until about sixty or seventy years ago that steel-spring 
buggies first came yito use. The first vehicles of that 
class were very heavy and cumbersome, and it was some 
time after their introduction before they became popular. 
The " buck board," a species of buggy, was at one time in 
considerable favor among the people. Being light and 
strongly made, it could well withstand the jolting over 
the rough country roads. Saddles were made of hog's 
leather, or pigskin, the old settler frequently having 
skins tanned for this purpose. It is quite common, even 
now, to see a saddle as a sign in front of a harness shop 
and the name " Harness-maker and Saddler " over the 
door, but the name saddler has largely lost its sig- 




N the early days the mail was carried 
between the different offices in the outly- 
ing districts by post-boys on horseback. 
On the leading or post roads this work 
was done by the stage-coach, a shrill blast from the horn 
which the driver carried giving notice of its approach. 
The coaches engaged by the Government for this pur- 
pose bore the name, " Royal Mail," and most of them had 
the British coat-of-arms emblazoned on their sides. The 
post-offices were confined mostly to the towns and vil- 
lages. These being few and far between, many of the 
people in the country districts had to go miles for their 
mail. As, however, there were but few newspapers sent 
through the mails at that time, and comparatively few 
letters written, it was not necessary to go to the office 
very often. When anyone in a neighborhood called at 
the office for their mail, they generally got the mail for 
the whole neighborhood. 



Postal rates were very high in the early days, the 
charge at one time being according to the distance sent, 
the cost of sending a letter to a far-off place often 
amounted to as much as half a dollar. Fifty years ago it 
cost seven cents to send a letter anywhere in Canada, 
and a York shilling or more to the Old Country. You may 
depend upon it, when people had to pay so much for 
sending a letter by mail, they did not write or trouble 
the mails more than they could help. Letters were 
frequently sent by travellers from one place to another. 
Again, people living long distances apart made a practice 
of visiting each other periodically, and in that way kept 
track of each other, or word was brought to them of 
their friends by others. The writer was told that in one 
place in the country, where the post-office was in a pri- 
vate house, if the post-boy left mail for any of the 
neighbors a flag was hung up to notify them. 

The Newspapers. 

Although the printing press was invented centuries 
ago, it is only within the last one hundred years or less 
that the spread of the newspaper has become universal. 
Now there is scarcely a home among intelligent people 
that the daily or weekly paper does not enter. This has 
been due to many favorable causes popular education, 
the railways, cheap postage, improvements in the print- 
ing press, etc. Popular education has given everyone a 
chance to learn to read and write, and in fact education 


A Group of Old Newspapers. 


has been made compulsory. The railways furnish quick 
and cheap means of transportation. The telegraph 
flashes news from remote parts, cheap postage has made 
it possible for the poorest in the land to have all the 
reading matter they want sent to them at a trifling cost, 
and the improvements in the printing press have 
reduced the cost of printing wonderfully. In the early 
days any paper or magazine that came into the house 
was treasured, read and re-read, and then given to the 
neighbors to read. The first post-offices being few and 
scattered, and the postal rates high, the newspaper was 
usually distributed by the publisher, who sent a man 
around on horseback to deliver the paper to the sub- 
scribers. Oftentimes a box was nailed to a post or the 
fence near the road, into which the paper was dropped. 
To save expense, sometimes six or seven neighbors 
would club together and subscribe for a paper, the 
subscriber living on the main road receiving it first, and 
who, after reading it, passed it on to one of the others. 
Sometimes it was left with persons along the route 
appointed as agents. 

Postage Stamps and Envelopes. 

Those of us living at the present day often wonder 
why it is that we enjoy so many privileges that our fore- 
fathers did not possess. We do not claim superior in- 
telligence. The only explanation we can offer is that 
they lived in the conservative period of the world's 


history, when changes by many were considered wrong 
and of the devil, while we live in a period when progress 
of any kind is welcomed. Sixty years ago, even, the 
people in Canada did not have stamps and envelopes. 
They wrote their letters on one side (sometimes three 
sides) of a sheet of letter paper, folded the paper, then 
wrote the address on the unwritten side and fastened it 
with sealing wax. People did not write so many letters 
in those days in fact, there were any number of people 
who could not even write their own names, as shewn by 
the number of marks that are to be seen attached to such 
documents as wills, deeds, etc. Then, again, it cost con- 
siderable to send a letter by mail. We are indebted 
to Rowland Hill, of England, for introducing cheap pos- 
tage. His attention was called to the matter by seeing 
a servant girl take a letter from the postman, carefully 
look it over, and then return it, on the plea of not being 
able to pay the postage. The letter was from a brother 
of hers in a distant place. By the postmark, and cer- 
tain other marks on the outside of the letter, she knew 
where her brother was and how he was situated. 
Rowland Hill, in spite of her protest, paid the postage 
and handed her the letter. After the postman had 
departed she told Mr. Hill of the understanding between 
her brother and herself. This incident led to the 
establishment of the postal system of England on a new 
basis and the issuing of the first postage stamps, in 


January, 1840, a penny carrying a letter to any part of 
the British Isles. This system was soon adopted by all 
the colonies, as well as other countries, the first 
postage stamp being issued in Canada, in 1851. 

The Quill Pens. 

Steel pens are a comparatively modern invention. It 
is not much more than seventy-five years or so since 
they were introduced. Previous to that time the writing 
was all done with the quill pen made from the quills or 
large feathers taken from the wing of the goose. People 
usually kept a bundle of these on hand for use in 
making pens. Sometimes they would be taken out 
when plucking the geese, but usually they were 
gathered when the geese shed their feathers, the 
quills being found scattered around the yard. They 
were then boiled in water to remove the oil and make 
them hard and pliable. 

All that was necessary in making a quill pen was a 
good sharp pen-knife, in fact this was how the name 
pen-knife originated. Many persons in the olden time 
were quite expert penmen and some of them who had 
always been accustomed to use quill pens preferred to 
still use them even after the invention of the steel pen. 
Until quite recently, points made from quills were kept 
for sale in some of the stationery stores. The ink the 
old folks used was made at home in various ways. One 


kind was made by boiling the inner bark of the soft maple 
in water and adding a little copperas to the solution. 
Nut galls and copperas were also frequently made use 
of for making ink. These old-fashioned, home-made 
inks were good and durable, the writing in some of 
the old letters and documents written a century ago 
being as distinct to-day as when first written. Before 
the days of blotting paper it was customary, especially 
among students and professional men, to keep a box of 
fine sand* on the desk before them, to dust on the paper 
after it had been written on, so as to dry up the ink 
quickly. The ink-well always had small holes in it 
for inserting the quill pens in when not in use. It may 
not be inappropriate here to introduce the words of a 
famous riddle on the 


' ' In youth exalted, high in air, 
Or bathing in the waters fair, 
Nature to form me took delight, 
And clad my body all in white. 
My person tall and slender waist, 
On either side with fringes graced, 
'Till me that tyrant, man, espied 
And dragged me from my mother's side ! 
No wonder now I look so thin ; 
The tyrant stripped me to the skin, 

The sand-box usually had a top like a pepper-box. 


My skin he flayed, and hair he cropped, 
And head and feet my body lopped, 
And with a heart more hard than stone 
He picked the marrow from my bone ! 
To vex me more he took a freak 
To split my tongue and make me speak ; 
Riddle me this before next week ! " 

The Old Currency. 

The first official currency in Upper Canada was the 
Halifax currency ( s. d.), the decimal system not 
being adopted till 1858. In the United States the deci- 
mal system was authorized by the Federal Government 
in 1793. Previous to that time there was what was 
called the Colonial currency, each State having a money 
system of its own, adopted when it was a colony of 
Great Britain. It was some time after the authoriza- 
tion of the Federal currency, or dollars and cents, 
however, that its use became universal, the old cur- 
rency to which the people were accustomed being 
still employed to a greater or less extent in ordinary 
transactions. A person travelling from Boston to New 
York a century and a quarter ago was obliged to com- 
pute in the currency of the different States through 
which he passed. Among the people of Canada living 
along the border, as well as among the emigrants from the 
United States settled in other parts of the province, 
the New York currency (N.Y.C.) was used consider- 


ably in the fore part of the century and in some places 
until the middle of the century. The dollar was also 
made use of quite frequently, it being customary to 
reckon so many York shillings (12J cents) to the dollar. 
The penny of the New York currency was equivalent 
to our present cent, but the name " copper " was gener- 
ally used then instead of cent. It was not until 1820 
that the Halifax, or Provincial currency, became at all 
general, private and store accounts being mostly kept 
in New York currency previous to that time, public 
and school accounts only in Halifax currency. In 
Halifax currency the pound was equivalent to $4.00 and 
the shilling to 20 cents. In New York currency the pound 
was equivalent to $2.50, and the shilling to 12| cents. 
Much of the trading in the early days was done by 
barter, i.e., by exchanging farm produce for store goods. 
Logs were exchanged for shingles, and lumber and 
whiskey for grain, for money was generally in scant 
circulation. Previous to Confederation there was no 
silver coinage in Canada. The silver in circulation was 
British and foreign (British mostly). The British coins 
most common were the six-pence and shilling pieces. 
Considerable United States silver was also in circulation. 
There were also a few Mexican, Spanish and French 
coins. The present Canadian cent was preceded by the 
Canadian Bank penny and half-penny tokens, usually 
called " coppers," as well as the British penny and half- 
penny piece. 

/ c 

,/^fe; .& '#** 1^4*,**'* 

"/wY s./i/^,./^'. /~< /i^/- -pte 

Leaf from an Old Account Book. 




ABITS of industry were inherited by the 
old pioneers. The people who emigrated 
from the New England States and from 
New York and New Jersey necessarily 
belonged to an industrious race. Their ancestors had 
cut down the primeval forests in these States, and had 
gone through experiences and privations similar to 
those which our forefathers had gone through in this 

The thrift and industry of the " Pennsylvania Dutch," 
many of whom settled in Canada, are proverbial, their 
farm houses and farms being almost everywhere models 
of neatness and order. While the early settler was ^ 
clearing his land, sowing, planting and reaping his crops, 
his industrious spouse was kept equally busy with ^ 
matters pertaining to household affairs, and yet she was V 
not above going out on the farm and giving her husband \^ 


\/ a hand if occasion required it. We can see her picking 
up sticks and chunks in the logging field ; helping to cut 
(with the sickle) and bind the sheaves of wheat; at 
work in the sugar bush and hoeing and planting in the 

The women folks wove the woollen blankets and 
linen sheets for the beds, cloth for their clothing and 
carpets* for the floor. When they grew old and feeble 
they spent their time in knitting, sewing carpet rags, 
plaiting straw for hats and darning stockings. The 
writer can well remember grandmother's work-basket, 
which stood on the sitting-room table, with its spools, 
scissors, twist, piece of wax, thimble, spectacles, and the 
stocking she was knitting. Happy, quiet days ! 

In studying the times of our forefathers, we see 

* Carpets did not come into general use among all classes in 
the country until about sixty years ago. They were a luxury. 
The people could not afford the time to make them. Some of 
the religious sects in the early days considered it an indication 
of luxury and pride to have such things. Some of them were 
so narrow-minded, bigoted and ignorant that they would not own 
a buggy that had steel springs. It is remembered that a certain 
bishop of one of these sects, on putting on a new suit of home-made 
clothes, went to the barn and stood behind the fanning mill, which 
was being operated, and so covered himself with dust in order to show 
his humility. The Methodists, even, in the early days were opposed to 
finery in clothing, and their ministers often disciplined the members 
for wearing jewellery, etc. Even the Presbyterians, until late years, 
did not allow the use of organs in their churches. These preju- 
dices, as a result of education, have mostly disappeared, and these 
people now take advantage of all the latest conveniences and inven- 
tions, even to having telephones and electric lights in their barns. 


clearly illustrated the truth of the old saying, " Neces- 
sity is the mother of invention," for, in order to have 
the conveniences and luxuries of life, outside of a few 
store goods, they were obliged to produce them them- 
selves, as most manufactured articles had to be im- 
ported from the Old Country, and for that reason were 
very expensive. They were very ingenious, however, 
and whatever they made was well made and not loosely 
put together in a frail manner, as such things are now. 
Many articles of furniture then made by them still 
defy the lapse of time, and are preserved by some of 
their descendants, giving strong evidence that they were 
made to last. 

The Hospitality of the People. 

Among the old settlers it was not necessary to lock 
the entrance door, the latch string* being frequently left 
hanging outside, so that anyone could enter that wished. 
It is said that oftentimes when the folks got up in the 
morning they would find several Indians lying before the 
fire. The old settlers never turned a stranger from the 
door ; in fact, they were always glad to have someone 
come along and partake of their hospitality. This was 
one way they kept themselves informed of the goings- 

* The latch, in most cases in the old houses, was lifted from the out- 
side by a string which ran through a hole in the door. At night, when 
they wished to lock up, they simply drew in the string. 


on in the outside world, for there were very few news- 
papers at that time, and the news in those they received 
was weeks and months old before reaching them, and 
did not contain anything like the amount of reading 
matter in the newspapers of the present day. 

There generally seems to be more of a feeling of social 
equality in the backwoods anyway, all are compara- 
tively poor and, therefore, on the same level. As the 
land gets cleared up and this one and that one gets a 
new house or barn, then the class distinction begins, and 
envy, jealousy and pride assert themselves. The houses 
of our forefathers were always welcome stopping-places 
for the emigrant from the States, and some romantic 
marriages were not infrequently the result of the 
acquaintanceship thus formed. The people, having to 
produce nearly everything themselves, were usually good 
providers,' and their tables were bountifully supplied 
with good things to tempt the appetite of the visitor. 
The women folks were not behind the times in making 
mince pies, pumpkin pies, doughnuts, ginger snaps, etc., 
and the old-time sausage, head-cheese and " liver-wurst," 
were not to be excelled. 

It was more customary in the early days for people 
living long distances apart to visit each other at certain 
set times, even if they were obliged to go on foot. 
People were known to travel back and forth from the 
States in this manner. Neighbors would frequently 


change work, and in that way were often thrown 
into each other's society. " Bees" of different sorts were 
the fashion. There were " bees " for logging, ploughing, 
sheep-shearing, wool -picking, quilting, apple-paring, 
corn-husking, etc. These gatherings all helped to bring 
the people together and encouraged sociability among 

Smoking was quite an evening pastime among the 
people. Almost all the men smoked, and some of the 
old women even did not conceal the pleasure derived by 
them at being addicted to the practice. After the toils 
of the day were over, the men folk could be seen sitting 
around the fire-place smoking their pipes the whole 
evening long, and, of course, chatting with a neighbor 
crony who might drop in to have an evening's social 

The Amusements of the People. 

Even with all our so-called modern improvements and 
facilities for enjoying ourselves, it is doubtful whether 
the people of the present day enjoy themselves any better, 
if as much as, the people of fifty and one hundred years 
ago. Their amusements were simple, it is true, but they 
entered into them with a heartiness and freedom that 
gave to the social atmosphere a charm that could not be 
surpassed. Although their opportunities were limited 
the spirit of contentment seemed to thoroughly prevail 


among them. They had varied amusements for every 
season of the year. The list included paring bees, husk- 
ing bees, horseback riding (riding parties), skating, 
sleighing parties, taffy pulls, quilting bees, etc. These 
gatherings as a rule wound up with a dance, unless this 
amusement was interdicted by the religious society to 
which they belonged. 

The Schools. 

There was no system of public schools in the early 
days, schools partly supported by taxation not being 
- introduced till near the close of the first quarter of the 
century. The usual way the people had of supplying 
,/their children with the means of education was for the 
' different families in the neighborhood to club together 
" and subscribe a certain sum towards the maintenance of 
~/ & schoolmaster, each paying according to the number of 
-* children in the family. The pay the teacher received 
did not. as might be expected in such circumstances, 
amount to too much. He had, however, free board, the 
custom being to have the teacher board around among 
[^/ the people during his term of engagement. These school - 
^, /masters, as a rule, were not over-learned graduates in 
heir profession. Many of them were discharged British 
soldiers, and others came from the ranks of worn-out 
/ tailors, shoemakers, etc. It was not necessary to hold a 
/ diploma in those days in order to be allowed to teach 


y^school. There were some few of these teachers, no 

""^doubt, who had the advantage of a superior education, but 

\_xthe great majority of them had no regular training, and 

y^/were wholly unfit for the work. Their primary efforts did 

x_-' undeniably good service in the case of beginners, but the 

smart pupils soon outstripped the master. The reference 

- here is, of course, confined to the schools in the country 

* districts. In the towns there were private schools and 
C^boarding schools, which offered superior facilities for 

getting a liberal education, although very few of the 
r/Y\ people in the farming community were able to avail 
; themselves of these advantages for their children. Not- 
^5-withstanding that the chances for obtaining a higher 
" education were limited, all the people were not by any 
v-"^ means illiterate. In fact, many of them, being great read- 
ers, were what might be called self-educated men, whose 
education extended even to a high range of subjects and 
various branches of knowledge. 4jb has been alleged that 
early~ln"ftie~c~entury a large percentage of the people 
ulcl not read or write, and such was probably the^case ; 
but it has to be remembered that people of this class were 
mostly immigrants and foreigners from the Old Country 
and from European nations. The settlers being so 
widely scattered over large areas, many of them were 
prevented from g-iving their children the advantages of 
school training. Attendance at school not being compul- 
sory, many of them who were not well educated them- 


\ selves neglected the education of their children. They 
tEought that because they had succeeded well enough 
without education their children should. 

About the only subjects taught in the early schools 
were reading, writing and arithmetic. Many of the 
teachers themselves had very little knowledge of any 
other subjects. ^ Of grammar many of them knew nothi ng. 
Their knowledge of arithmetic very seldom went beyond 
the Rule of Three. Of geography they were ignorant. 
The people in the early times having fewer books and 
papers to read, their memories generally retained what 
they did read. The knowledge they got of subjects 
other than those taught in the schools was mostly 
obtained by reading. 

In regard to the discipline in the schools in the early 
days, it may be said that order was maintained in most 
cases by a liberal use of the " birch rod " or " blue beech." 
Nowadays a teacher who depended on corporal punish- 
ment for securing obedience would not be tolerated. 

The public schools were at one time called " common " 
and " district " schools. The change in name and desig- 
nation to that of public schools was more in accordance 
with the progressive spirit of the times, which gave the 
grammar school, the high school and the collegiate 


The School-houses. 

Before regular school-houses were built, it was cus- 
tomary to hold the school in private houses, one of the 
neighbors having a house large enough setting a room 
apart for this purpose. The first school-houses were 
built of logs, and had two rows of desks, one on each 
side, facing the windows, and placed against the walls, 
with two rows of benches or forms without backs for 
seats for the scholars, and were placed so high from the 
floor that the feet of the younger children dangled 
in the air. At one end of the room was the master's 
desk or table, and chair, and in the middle a big box 
stove, with a bench on each side, on which the children 
collected at recess or before school hours. There were 
no such things as blackboards, maps or globes, and quill 
pens were used exclusively for writing. Part of the 
master's work was to see that the children's pens were 
kept properly made and mended, his ability as a teacher 
being reckoned largely by his proficiency in this line in 
a time when to read, to write and to cipher were con- 
sidered sufficient education for ordinary people. 

In localities where there were no churches, the school- 
houses were often used for divine worship on Sunday, 
as well as for singing schools, lectures, political meetings 
and polling places at the elections. 

The scholars' hats and dinner pails were hung on 


wooden pegs driven into the logs, or into a piece of 
board at the back end of the school-room. The benches 
were made of boards with legs of wood driven into 
auger holes at each end. When the writer first went to 
school stone ink bottles were the fashion. Every scholar 
was obliged to furnish his own ink. On cold, frosty 
mornings in the winter, it was customary for the scholars 
to place these bottles on the stove to thaw out the ink. 
Occasionally some mischievous boy would leave the cork 
in the bottle ; the result would be an explosion and a 
large black spot on the ceiling of the room. 

The Churches. 

Churches in the country places were few and far 
between, most of the people having to travel miles to 
the place of worship, and yet the people, if anything, 
were more devoutly religious than they are now. In 
many places, if there was no church convenient, reli- 
gious services were held in school-houses, in private 
houses, and even in barns ; and although the ministers' 
as a rule, were not a highly educated cla&s of men, the 
people were always glad to listen to anyone who felt 
himself "called of the Lord" to preach to them the 
gospel of Christ. Many of these preachers were noble 
men and endured hardships and privations that they 
might carry the good tidings to the remote settlements. 
They were always made welcome guests and were 


generally on. hand to console the people in times of grief 
and trouble. In the towns and villages there was usually 
an English or Presbyterian church, or both. The min- 
isters of these churches, aside from the magistrates, were 
the only persons authorized to marry. The Presbyterian 
minister could only marry when at least one of the con- 
tracting parties was a member of his congregation, 
magistrates only when the parties wishing to be married 
lived more than eighteen miles from a fully authorized 
minister. It was not until 1831 that a law was passed 
allowing ministers of any denomination to marry. In 
the very earliest days, before even magistrates and par- 
sons had been appointed, in garrison towns, like Niagara, 
it is said the ceremony was occasionally performed by 
army officers. To make the contract more binding, the 
parties to it would sometimes have a minister go through 
the ceremony afterwards. Marriages of this kind were 
performed in St. Mark's parish, Niagara (see church 
register of Mr. Addison, the first minister). 




JHE country store, was in many respects a 
departmental store on a small scale, for a 
well-equipped store contained a little of 
everything. On one side were to be seen 
shelves well filled with groceries, crockery-ware, and a 
few patent medicines, such as blood purifiers, painkillers 
and liniments ; on the other side, a well assorted stock 
of dry goods, including prints, woollens, muslins, calico, 
cottons, etc. At the back, a lot of hardware, comprising 
nails, paints, oils, putty, glass, and garden tools, as well 
as an assortment of boots and shoes from the tiny 
copper-toe to the farmer's big cowhide. In the back 
room, at the rear end of the store, were to be found bar- 
rels of sugar and New Orleans molasses, crates of eggs, 
and tubs of butter and lard. With this miscellaneous 
mixture tea, coffee, dry goods, codfish, and boots and 
shoes the odor of the country store was truly a compo- 
site one, and trying to the olfactory organs of the 

Box Stove In Use for a Hundred Years. 


visitor. The country merchant was usually a man in 
good circumstances, for he was obliged' in most cases to 
give a year's credit, the farmers paying their bills in the 
fall of the year, after the " threshing " or the " killing " ; 
their only source of revenue at any other time being 
from butter and eggs, which their wives took to the 
country store, usually once a week, and exchanged for 
store goods. Perhaps there was no more popular place 
of meeting than the country store. After the day's 
work was over, it was customary for many of the men 
in the neighborhood, especially the farmers' hired men, 
who had no other place of amusement to go to, to gather 
here. Even if they did not have occasion to buy any- 
thing, they would drop in for a few minutes to while 
away the time ; Jiaye a chat, see someone they wished, 
hear politics discussed, and generally learn all the latest 
news. The society of the country store had a peculiar 
fascination for many of them, for there generally hap- 
pened to be some one there who was gifted with the 
faculty of cracking jokes, telling funny yarns, or inter- 
esting stories ; besides it was a comfortable place, 
especially on the long winter evenings, when they would 
gather around the big box stove, lounge on the counters, 
sit on the boxes and barrels, puff away at their pipes, 
chew tobacco, and chaff one another to their heart's con- 
tent. I am sorry to say many of them were as uncouth 
as their habits, and language was often used that was 


neither polite nor edifying ; still this can be said to their 
credit, they generally managed to show a respectful air 
if a lady or clergyman entered. Occasionally there 
would be heard a loud " whoa ! " at the door ; soon after 
which some big, burly farmer might be seen entering, 
with a long riding whip in his hand, pants tucked into 
his boots, and long coat reaching to his heels. While he 
asked for a pound of tea or a plug of tobacco, some 
rustic from behind the stove would call out, " Good 
morning, Sam! How are the roads up your way?" 
and sundry other questions pertaining to the neighbor- 

Usually the post-office was located in the country 
store, and this brought a still greater diversity of people 
together. They would flock in about the time the mail 
was expected to arrive, wait patiently until it was dis- 
tributed, and then file out one by one. In the early 
days, before the temperance movement began, whiskey 
being cheap, it was common for country stores, who also 
sold it, to keep a barrel of it, with a faucet attached, and 
a glass for the free use of customers. 

The Wayside Blacksmith. 

The wayside blacksmith was a useful personage in 
the olden time, his services frequently being called into 
requisition, for besides having to shoe the horses and 
to make the iron part of the rude farm implements, he 


made nails for the carpenter's use, made and repaired 
the logging chains, made the garden and other tools, 
such as hoes, rakes, spades, axes, hammers, etc., and did 
sundry other odd jobs for the farmers. Travellers fre- 
quently sought him out to have a lost shoe replaced on 
their horses or to have breakages to their vehicles 
mended. His shop was located at some prominent 
point, usually the county crossroads. Here would col- 
lect on rainy days the farmers to get their odd jobs 
done. Meeting so many people from near and far, he 
was usually well posted on the news of the surrounding 
country and district, and the farmers knew if they 
wanted to find out what was going on in the country 
roundabout they were pretty likely to find it out in the 
shop of this son of Vulcan. On the soot-begrimed walls 
of his place of business were posted bills announcing an 
auction sale, a bailiff's sale, or a notice of some breechy 
steer that was lost, strayed or stolen. 

The Country Peddlar. 

The peddlar, with a pack on his back, was a frequent 
visitor to the backwoods settlements in the early days. 
His display of goods was the only sight many of the 
children got of the stock of a store. Their imagination 
led them to believe that he was a very rich man to own 
such a valuable lot of goods, and really it was surprising 
what a vast number of articles he could get into his 


pack. When he displayed his goods he would cover the 
table and chairs around him with his stock. There were 
needles and pins, horn combs, hooks and eyes, spools of 
thread, buttons, handkerchiefs, ribbons and tapes, as 
well as a few toys and picture books. The children 
would look on this display with wondering eyes and 
would beg their good mother to buy something for 
them. Usually something was wanted, after which this 
itinerant merchant would gather his stock of sundries 
together and pass on to another house.* 

The Itinerant Shoemaker. 

In the early days the families were usually large, 
it being a common thing to find fourteen or fifteen 
children in one family. The reader can imagine what 
it would cost to clothe such a family according to 
modern methods. In those early days, however, people 
were trained to be economical in fact, they were obliged 
to carefully exercise that virtue. To be sure leather was 
cheaper then than it is now, and shoes were made to wear 
longer. To save expense, it was customary to buy a 
hide, or get a hide of leather tanned and engage a shoe- 
maker to come to the house to mend and make up shoes 
for the entire family. In fact, there were what might 
be called itinerant shoemakers, who made it their busi- 

*Many of these peddlars on the frontier in the early days were 
Yankees and it is said some of them became quite wealthy. 


ness to go round among the people periodically, usually 
in the fall of the year, and do this kind of work. Some 
few of the farmers tanned their own leather* and made 
their own shoes and those of their children. Many of 
them could not afford to provide more than one pair of 
shoes in a year for each member of their family. It 
was customary in the rural districts for the children to 
go barefooted from early in the spring till late in the 
fall, and occasionally men might be found who did the 
same. Amongst the early German settlers one hundred 
years ago wooden shoes or clogs were worn more or 
less. Specimens of these shoes are to be found now 
among the people, kept as curiosities. 

The Country Squire. 

The magistrate, or justice of the peace, upon whom it 
devolved to settle disputes among the people in the 
country districts was usually called " squire " and was 
known by that title for miles around. He was quite an 
important personage in the community in the olden 
time. It was quite a common sight to find the yard in 
front of his house filled with people attending a trial. 
If he found that the case to be tried was of too serious a 

* Those who did their own tanning kept a trough hollowed out of a 
log for this purpose. Troughs made in this way were used for different 
purposes instead of tubs, coopers being scarce, besides they were 
inexpensive, any farmer being able to make them. Such troughs were 
also used for salting down venison and other meats. 


nature for him to pass judgment upon, he would have 
the case remanded to a higher tribunal. At these rustic 
magistrate courts were to be found all sorts and condi- 
tions of men. As might well be surmised, it required 
considerable judgment and tact to deal with so many 
conflicting cases and classes, especially with the foreign 
element, many of whom understood the English 
language very imperfectly. In the early days the 
squire was also the conveyancer and the petty lawyer 
of the neighborhood. He drew up the wills, deeds, etc., 
for the people. Many of them also went to him to be 
married, when a minister authorized to marry did not 
live convenient in the neighborhood. For many years 
the magistrates of the district met every three months 
I at the " quarter sessions," and with one of their number 
as chairman performed the judicial work of the district. 
At the quarter sessions they granted the privilege of 
marrying, kept the peace of the district and sometimes 
even had a jury for trying cases. 


The modern nuisance, the professional tramp, said to 
be the outcome of the American civil war, presumably 
by the soldiers thrown out of employment looking for 
work, and the hard times succeeding, was unknown in 
the early days of settlement. There was then work 
enough for all. and therefore no necessity for going far 
from home to obtain it. There were very few beggars 


and consequently no need for county poor houses ; the 
people who were sometimes compelled to beg being 
cripples and old people of both sexes, who had no homes 
and were unable to work. There were very few of 
these, and they were nearly always strangers. Occasion- 
ally men with sticks over their backs and bundles on the 
end, might be seen going along the road, but they were 
usually people on a journey (for many people travelled 
on foot in those days, there being no railways and few 
public conveyances), or perhaps they might be foreigners 
recently landed in the country looking for work 
among the farmers. During haying and harvest time 
men from the new settlements could be seen going by 
on foot to the older settled parts of the province to work, 
and in that way earn money to maintain their families 
until they could raise sufficient on their own uncleared 
farms to keep them. Occasionally there might be found 
persons who made their living by begging. It is said 
there was a man in Waterloo county years ago who 
begged enough to buy a farm. The people in the 
early days, being more hospitable and unsuspecting, may 
have been more easily imposed upon than the people 
are now, for if a stranger came to their houses in the 
evening he was given a night's lodging and breakfast, for 
which they would not think of taking money, even if 
the guest were able to pay. To be sure there were not 
the vagabonds in the shape of tinkers and umbrella 
menders then as now. 




HE camp-meetings of the present day are 
to a large extent social gatherings, with 
religion and fashion mixed up together, 
but in the olden time they were times 
of spiritual outpouring. It was only among the Metho- 
dists they were held. Their churches being few and 
scattered, this was one way they had chosen for getting 
the people together in the summer time for special 
revival services, and some of the results were truly 
wonderful. The zeal of the early Methodist was 
untiring. He was sincere and earnest, and when these 
two qualities are combined great results are sure to 
follow. The camp-meetings usually lasted from one to 
two weeks. Crowds of people came from near and far 
to attend them. A great many were attracted out of 
curiosity. Many that went there to " scoff remained to 


pray." Some remained on the ground living in tents and 
cabins made of boards. Provisions were sold on the 

People were frequently overcome by the " Power," as 
it was called, and would lie prostrate on the ground for 
some time. We are inclined to think that this was only 
the reaction from the nervous frenzy that they had 
worked themselves into. Meetings were held nearly 
every hour of the day. There were mass meetings for 
all, and prayer and praise meetings in the different 
tents. The voice of prayer could be heard in all parts 
of the ground. No doubt great good came of these 

The following description of a camp-meeting held in 
Northumberland County over fifty years ago, as given 
me by a friend who attended it, may be of interest to 
the reader : " The camp was situated in the woods, and 
consisted of board shanties sufficient to accommodate 
500 people. In the centre of the ground was a square 
space large enough to seat the crowds of people who 
gathered there for the Sunday service. At each of the 
four corners, raised on posts, was a platform covered 
with earth, on which pine knots were burned for giving 
light at the nightly meetings. At one end of the 
ground was the preacher's stand, in front of which was 
a space covered with straw, and roped off for the 
penitents to assemble. The public meeting was an- 
nounced by a horn from the preacher's cabin." 


The Old-Time Funerals. 

There were no regular undertakers in the pioneer 
times, all the work connected with a burial, from the 
laying out of the body to the digging of the grave, being 
done by the neighbors and friends. A carpenter or 
handy man was employed to make the coffin. Usually 
it was made out of pine and stained with lamp-black; 
but it was very frequently made out of good cherry or 
oak, nicely planed and varnished, and looked almost as 
imposing as the modern coffin or casket with its drapery 
and silver mountings. It was the practice with some 
of the old settlers to select lumber and lay it away 
years beforehand for the making of their coffins. It is 
said that the coffin of one of the old pioneers in Norfolk 
County was hewed out of a walnut log. The style or 
shape of the coffin was somewhat different to that of to- 
day. The cover was raised in the centre, the upper 
part being on hinges, so that it could be turned back. 

On the day set for the funeral the friends would 
assemble at the house and -follow the remains to their 
last resting-place, perhaps in the family plot on the 
farm. After the obsequies were all over many of them 
would return to the house, where refreshments were 
served to all, and the will (if any) read. There being 
no hearse then available, the coffin was conveyed to the 
cemetery in a farmer's wagon or sleigh, a blanket or 
quilt being thrown over it in the winter time to keep 


off the snow. In the settlements where the neighbors 
were few and far between, a man was sent around on 
horseback to notify the people of a death and invite 
them to the funeral. In the early days, if the cemetery 
was any distance from the residence of the deceased, the 
funeral procession would consist of a line of farm 
wagons, the more fashionable " democrat " and buggy 
being seldom seen; indeed, a farmer who had one was 
thought to be getting up in the world. 

The Superstitions of the People. 

The people of fifty and one hundred years ago were 
more superstitious than they are now, the great ad- 
vances in education having rid the minds of the people 
of many of the superstitious beliefs held by the majority 
of the people years ago. Science has helped to explain 
away and make ridiculous many of the ideas of the 
supernatural indulged in by our forefathers, and yet we 
cannot blame our ancestors for their erroneous theories 
and practices ; they were trained to them. These things 
were fostered by people of all classes. The people of 
New England believed in witches, ghosts, etc., and we 
find the German settlers bringing similar notions from 
the Fatherland. The old settlers always butchered their 
hogs, made their soap, sowed their grain, plucked their 
geese in a certain time of the moon. We do not deny 
that the moon has a great influence over the earth, but 


,the old settlers certainly carried this idea of the moon's 
influence too far, imagination in most cases having more 
influence than the moon. The old almanac always hung 
by a nail to the wall, and was often consulted by the 
old folks. When grandmother wished to wean the baby 
she was very particular in what sign of the_zodiac she\ 
' did it. Such phenomena of nature as thunder, lightning, 
etc., which are now known to be the result of natural \ 
causes, were at one time by many ascribed to the-wratlx_y 
of an angry God. Scientific men, however, by giving an 
explanation of these disturbances, have helped to divest 
society of much of its former superstition. 

Ghosts, Hobgoblins and Will-o'-the-Wisps. 

Among the early settlers a belief in the existence of 
ghosts and hobgoblins was more traditional than real. 
Occasionally there might be found a man who claimed .' 
to have seen a ghost, \bnt such stories were usually 
matters of hearsay. As the people became better in- 
formed they utterly repudiated such ideas. Although 
the old folks may not as a rule have believed in such 
1 things, they took delight in talking about them, and as 
\v all children have listening ears they heard these .stories i 
and were tilled with fear, in> consequence of which they I 
T were afraid to go into a dark room alone, and there 
was always a certain amount; of dread_of__having to go 
by a cemetery after night. \ Although people may be 





/--^ ; 7. ~ ~~ 

( skeptical regarding ghosts and apparitions, it is often- 
times hard to eradicate, the idea of such things from 
I their minds. . We have no way of investigating and 

- L ^ " ~ f^S# 

finding out the cause of the many wonderful things that 
occurred in the past, but a belief in such things is gradu- 
ally wearing away. We hear less of them every year ; 
this of itself shows that they were the creatures of fancy 
and a superstitious mind, as well as the inventions of 
certain designing and wicked persons for the purpose of 
deceiving the people, in order to gain some unworthy 
object they had in view". Most of these superstitious ; 
"beliefs* originated in the Old Country, and many of them 
could be traced back to the Middle Ages. Certain parts 

r of Europe, a century or two ago, were infested with 
robbers and smugglers, who made their living by plun- 
dering the people. They had their hiding-places in 
lonely and unfrequented spots and sometimes in old 
abandoned churches and graveyards, from which they 

would issue dressed in the form of ghosts and hobgob- 
lins to frighten the people away. No doubt the woman 
in white with streaming hair, and the headless man on 
horseback, were the invention of such men, for people 
nowadays do not see such things. Sometimes the 
people associated such fancies with the place where 
someone had been murdered, and oftentimes the houses 
where such wicked deeds had been committed were 
supposed to be haunted by the spirit of the murdered 


person, strange sights being seen in them and strange 
sounds being heard issuing from them at times. The 
father of the writer often used to relate a story about 
a drunken man that might throw light on some of the 
graveyard stories. A man passing by a cemetery after 
night heard strange noises issuing from it. Not being 
satisfied to go by without investigating, he entered the 
cemetery. Following in the direction the sound pro- 
ceeded from, he came to a freshly-dug grave in which a 
drunken man had fallen, and who, no doubt, thinking 
the Day of Judgment had come, and being unable to 
extricate himself, lay there groaning in terror. The 
will-o'-the-wisp, or jack-o'-lantern, as it is sometimes 
called, is nothing more than a certain kind of gas which 
issues from the decaying vegetation in marshy places, 
and very frequently in Ireland from the bogs, which, 
as it comes into contact with the outer air, ignites and 
floats around in the air for a time like a ball of fire. 
This was supposed by some people to be the spirit of 
some departed person let loose to frighten folks. Punk, 
a fungus growth in decaying wood, when wet, will 
sometimes emit a phosphorescent light. This is called 
" fox fire." 

We will not attempt to denounce or utterly repudiate 
all belief in mysterious powers, for in mesmerism, mind- 
reading, etc., we see manifestations of an unknown 
force ; but just what that force is we are unable to say, 


although oar limited knowledge of such things would 
lead us to believe that it does not emanate from any 
person or place outside of the material world. 

The Lightning Bug or Firefly. 

There are very few people but have experienced a 
peculiar creepy feeling when seeing the fireflies darting 
around on the edge of a wood in the dusk of the 
evening, this feeling generally being more acute if in 
the vicinity of some old deserted building. Along with 
the croaking of the frogs, the chirping of the crickets 
and the hooting of the night owl, they made the silence 
of the evening very weird and doleful, and to a person 
of superstitious mind (and most of us were so inclined 
as children) suggestive of ghosts, spooks, etc., and 
helped the imagination to conjure up images of such ; 
a white horse or cow, sheep or pig, often being trans- 
formed into a phantom creature, and, unless circum- 
stances afterwards explained the mystery, were always 
believed to be such by the beholder. 

In Time of Sickness. 

Doctors were not obliged to hold diplomas in the 
early days in order to be allowed to practise medi- 
cine, the law requiring registration not coming into 
force till many years afterwards. There were, to be 
sure, a few educated medical men, but there was a larger 


u^nuuiber of quacks and herb-doctors, some of whom had 
i^-the reputation of being quite skilful. Many of the old 
t-women made excellent mid wives, their services being 
^of ten called into requisition in the absence of a quali- 
'- x fied doctor or a trained nurse, either of which it was 
t^ sometimes impossible to obtain. There were also " witch- 
doctors " and persons who had " charms," people some- 
times going miles to visit such persons. An old gentle- 
man told the father of the writer that, when a young 
man, he was sent on horseback over to Pennsylvania by 
one of the old settlers to consult a certain witch-doctor. 
Our grandmothers always kept a collection of herbs 
on hand for treating the simple ailments of the family. 
These herbs were collected at certain times, tied into 
bundles and hung up to the rafters- and walls of the 
house to dry. Vaccination, blood-letting and cupping 
were commonly practised, there generally being some 
one in the neighborhood with skill in performing these 
operations, to whom the neighbors would go when re- 
quiring such treatment. Blood-letting was at the time 
the great panacea among the people in doctoring. People 
were bled for nearly every ill. The practice of medi- 
cine has indeed undergone a wonderful transformation 
within the last fifty years, and will not likely undergo 
as great a process of progression in the coming fifty. 

We said the progress was wonderful; might we not add, 
as still more to be wondered at, that so many patients 


survived the medical treatment in vogue half a century 
ago ! Many a man who has had the lancet applied to 
his arm and the life-blood taken away from him, suc- 
cumbed to the operation, who otherwise and with proper 
treatment might have lived to a long and useful life. 
Cold water was strictly forbidden anyone suffering from 
a fever, it being stupidly supposed that it would cause 
immediate death. The doors and windows were kept 
securely closed to prevent any cold air from coming 
into contact with the patient. During the cholera 
times, men who were supposed to be dead and had been 
removed to outhouses, were brought back to conscious- 
ness and recovered by the invigorating action of the 
pure cold air. 

Notwithstanding their ignorance of the practice of 

-medicine and of principles of sanitary science, however, 
there was apparently less sickness among the people 

- years ago than there is now. No doubt the plain fare 
of the people, coupled with much exercise in the shape 
of hard work, as well as the wholesome ventilation 
furnished by the big chimneys in the living rooms, 
helped to make people healthier and hardier than the 

.people of the present day. They were, however, not 

. immune from epidemics, such as diphtheria, scarlet 
, typhoid fever, small-pox, etc., and when these 
their appearance in a community they sometimes 
made great ravages. 


The healthfulness of the people in the early days was 
attested by their vigorous old age ; many of them, not- 
withstanding their life of toil, living to be ninety and 
one hundred years old. Their diet of fried pork and 
food fried in grease was apparently rendered harmless 
by their life of hard work in the open air. 

Saving Habits of Grandfather. 

Then, as now, extravagance was a sin, economy a 
virtue, but economy seems to have been practised more 
generally by the people in the early times than at 
present. In the early days everything was made by hand 
nowadays nearly everything is produced by machinery, 
which has reduced the price accordingly. Imported 
goods were so high-priced as to be beyond the reach of 
the limited means of the struggling settler in the back- 
woods, in those days of scarcity of money and low prices 
for farm produce. High ocean freights, added to the 
cost of conveyance to long distances inland, more than 
doubled the first cost price of the imported article. 
Besides, the settlers in the rural districts felt more 
comfortable in their substantial and inexpensive home- 
made clothing. And they also knew too well the value of 
their independence to run into debt for what they could 
well afford to do without. In this respect it is not too 
much to say that they were no less happier nor less wise 
than some of their descendants of the present day, who 
cut a dash in expensive imported garments obtained on 

Soldiers' Monument Lundys Lane. 


credit. Our forefathers wasted nothing. Every scrap of 
iron was thrown in a barrel or heap in a corner of the shed, 
every old piece of furniture was stowed away in the gar- 
ret or workshop connected with most houses, even the old 
letters, newspapers and magazines were bundled up and 
packed in boxes and chests. It is to this character- 
istic saving of our thrifty ancestors of fifty and one 
hundred years ago that the relic-hunter is able to 
unearth mines of wealth of this character in some of the 
old farmhouses.* 

Nursery Rhymes and Lullabies. 

Mothers sang their children to sleep in the pioneer 
times, the same as they do now, but they did not dose 
them with paregoric or Mrs. Winslow's Soothing Syrup, 
or other drugs to keep them quiet ; and no doubt the 
babies were just as well off About the only medicine 
given to baby was castor oil or catnip tea. We can 
imagine we see our grandmothers leaving their work 
arid catching up the baby to lull it to sleep, and perhaps 
singing to it some of the old-fashioned lullaby songs, or, 
if it were too cross or troublesome, telling it that if it 
would not be a good baby the bears would come and 
take it away. The old-fashioned rock'er cradles had 
strings tied across the top over the cover to keep the 
baby in, so that the women folks could get their work 

* It is only in farmhouses that have remained in the family for three 
and four generations that any great collection of furniture, etc., of 
bygone days is to be found. 


done ; and many a mother in the backwoods has rocked 
her baby to sleep in a sap-trough and it is said that one 
mother used a cannon-ball box as a cradle. It must have 
been quite an honor to be rocked in such a cradle. The 
Indian mother would strap her baby or papoose to a 
board and lean it up against a tree ; when travelling she 
would put the baby, board and all on her back. Some 
think this accounts for the Indian being so straight and 
upright in his physique. In the early days of New 
England the mothers are said to have placed their babies 
in baskets and hung them on the trees ; this is said to 
be the origin of the Mother Goose nursery song : 

' ' Rock-a-bye baby on the tree top ; 
When the wind blows the cradle will rock ; 
When the bough bends the cradle will fall, 
And down comes cradle, baby and all ! 

Among the nursery rhymes and lullabies recited and 
sung by our grandmothers were the following: 

" Hush, my child, lie still and slumber," " Trot, trot to 
Boston," " Patty cake, patty cake, baker's man," "Bah! 
bah ! black sheep !" " Once there was a little boy who 
lived by himself," " Shoe the horse, and shoe the mare, 
and let the filly colt go bare," etc. 

One of the German ones went thus : 

" Trot, trot, trille, 
Der bauer hat em fille, 
Fille springt aveck, 
Und das kind felt in der dreck.' 




" How dear to my heart 
Are the scenes of my childhood." 

T is not every one that has an old home- 
stead to visit, and those who have enjoy 
a privilege worth possessing and to be 
thankful for. In these days of change the 
majority of people move around continually and travel 
much in the course of a lifetime, and very few in the new 
provinces can be said to have a permanent place of abso- 
lutely settled home residence, descending from generation 
to generation. The province of Quebec is an exception 
where the French- Canadians remain fixtures. But com- 
paratively new as our country is, there are yet some of 
us Canadians who can lay claim to old homes that have 
been in the family for more than a hundred years, and 
although they may not be as grand as the stately 
homes of England or New England, many happy mem- 
ories are associated with them. Every foot of the land 


is familiar ground. Here, as barefooted boys and girls, 
romped and played three or four generations of the same 
family. Every tree and almost every stone were 
landmarks which had their own story, if trees and 
stones could speak and tell of the secret meetings, 
where lovers sat, and walked, and wooed, and won, and 
how the names, still remaining in evidence, came to be 
cut into the trees long years ago. The old house 
still remains, standing nestled in among the trees and 
shrubbery by which it is surrounded, the tall red brick 
chimney at the end marking out its location, the big 
poplars and maples along the roadside making the 
place conspicuous at quite a distance for miles around. 
There still was the once fruitful, smiling, large orchard 
adjoining, in which grew luscious fruit of all kinds, 
from the early harvest apple to the rich and juicy 
pear. No fruit seemed to taste so good as grand- 
father's ; there was a peculiar flavor to it which made it 
taste different from anybody else's ; perhaps it was on 
account of the sense of ownership that was attached to 
it. You felt that because it was grandfather's it was 
yours. The garden and yard were full of flowering 
plants and shrubs, where monster bouquets were to be 
got, and when we returned to our own home after a 
visit to grandfather's we always carried some with us. 
They reminded us for days, by their beauty and frag- 
rance, of the enjoyment of our recent holiday. How 

The Old Homestead. 

An Old Family Table. 


grandfather and grandmother, when they became ad- 
vanced in years, enjoyed gathering around them their 
children and grandchildren. The old home was a meeting- 
place not only for the immediate family, but also for all 
the relations and friends. They were always sure of a 
hearty welcome here. Although scattered far and wide, 
their affections lingered more or less around the old home- 
stead, the early home of their fathers and forefathers. 
Many relatives came from long distances, and sometimes 
we had not seen them for years. How pleasant it must 
be for those who have been successful in life to return, 
after years spent in business pursuits, to the old home- 
stead ! How longingly, when children, we looked for- 
ward to summer holiday time when we could visit 
grandfather's ! We had the freedom of the place by 
birthright. About our only work was to be sent after 
the cows and to bring in wood and water. The barn 
and stable, too, were our familiar haunts. We enjoyed 
riding the horses to water ; going with our uncles to 
the fields ; following in the furrow after the plough ; 
watching the men at work in harvest time ; going with 
grandfather to feed the pigs, or with our aunts when 
they went to the barnyard to milk the cows, or to 
gather the eggs. Although the house was old-fashioned, 
we all loved it. There was the old fireplace, which had 
been used for cooking as well as heating before stoves 
came into use ; the garret, full of old books, papers and 


furniture, old flint-lock muskets, spinning and flax 
wheels, etc., where we would steal away unnoticed and 
spend an hour in turning over the old cast-offs. Then 
there was the old style furniture of the house ; the old- 
fashioned splint-bottomed chairs, and the old box stove, 
which had been in use for nearly a hundred years (we 
can. in imagination, still see grandfather stirring up the 
coals and putting in a big " chunk " of wood before 
retiring for the night). Nor should the great kitchen 
table, also in use for a hundred years or more, be for- 
gotten. It was around that hospitable board the children 
of several generations had met and had grown up. How 
we did enjoy sitting around it and eating " bread and 
milk " prepared for us by grandmother ! It always 
seems to me like desecration to see an old building that 
has stood the storms of years torn down. Imagination 
pictures the spirits of the men and women who once 
inhabited the house now, alas ! long since dead 
" Gone to that bourne whence no traveller returns " 

still hovering around its precincts, and that it is only 
when it is destroyed they leave the locality. 

The Orchards and Vineyards. 

The old settlers were a thoughtful and far-seeing lot 
of people. One of the first things they did after locat- 
ing on their farms was to set out orchards. Some 
of them even brought apple trees with them. The 


writer remembers seeing, several summers ago, an apple 
tree still living and bearing fruit that was brought by 
an early settler to Canada more than a hundred years 
ago. It is said that one of the early settlers from 
Pennsylvania brought with him a peck of apple seeds, 
got from the pulp of a cider press, with which to start 
an orchard. The trees which grew from these seeds 
produced what is called " natural fruit," an inferior 
quality ; but superior grades were afterwards got from 
the parent stock by grafting and budding. 

Fruit trees thrived wonderfully in the soil of Canada, 
and in the Niagara peninsula, as we know, fruit culture 
is one of the staple industries. Years ago every farmer 
had a number of grape-vines or a vineyard, a certain 
part of the fruit being set apart for the making of wine. 

Temperance sentiment not being the fashion seventy- 
five years ago, the thrifty farmer prided himself on the 
quality of the wine he could produce. When his friends 
came to visit him it was the custom for him to bring out 
a bottle of his choicest brand to treat them with. 

The Old-Time Garden. 

The gardens of our forefathers were models of neat- 
ness and order as well as pictures of beauty. Among 
the Pennsylvania Dutch settled in Canada, the garden ) 
plot stood close by the house and was surrounded by a 
picket or board fence to keep out the poultry, pigs and 


other animals that would soon make havoc of the flower 
and vegetable beds, if accidentally allowed to enter. A 
path ran round the sides of the garden and one or two 
paths through the centre. The bed enclosed by the 
centre-walks was usually devoted to flowers and the rest 
of the garden to vegetables, herbs, etc. One could not 
help wondering how our busy grandmothers found time 
to devote to such work, but their gardens were 
apparently their pride, and they spent a good deal of 
time working in them. It was the custom always to take 
visitors out and shew them through the garden be fore leav- 
ing. We can see the women now, with perhaps a white 
handkerchief or an apron tied over their heads, strolling 
through the garden and yard, interested in looking at 
the flowers. In the spring of the year our grandmothers 
would bring out the boxes in which were stored the 
seeds collected the previous fall, each kind of seed being 
wrapped up in a separate parcel, some in folds of news- 
paper, some in pieces of brown paper, some in cloth, 
some in paper bags, all carefully marked and pinned up 
or tied with a piece of string or tape. Together with 
the flower seeds there were also all the common vege- 
table seeds, as lettuce, cabbage, onions, beets, beans and 
cucumbers. In the flower-beds plants were to be seen 
blooming the whole summer through, commencing early in 
the spring with the crocuses, tulips and daffodils, and end- 
ing in the fall with the dahlias, phlox and asters. There 


was generally a border of daisies and amaranthus (called 
in German Schissel Blume, because the shape of a dish, 
or rather cup and saucer) and in the centre hyacinths, 
marigolds, Caesar's crowns, bachelor's buttons, carnations 
(called pinks in the early days), primroses, sweet Williams, 
four o'clocks, pansies, sweet peas, mignonette, a choice 
rose bush here and there, peony, white-scented and red 
{called Gichter rose by the Germans, because its roots 
were supposed to be a cure for fits), and a tomato stalk 
with its red fruit, called love apples sixty years ago, and 
cultivated only as an ornament, as its fruit was not 
thought to be fit to eat. In a corner of the garden was 
to be found a bush of " Old Man " and one of live-for- 
ever, used in bouquets. A grape arbor or trellis was to 
be seen in the garden or yard and a hop-pole or two in 
one of the corners. Then there were beds for vegetables 
of all kinds and a bed for the herbs used for medicinal 
and culinary purposes, such as rue, thyme, sage (Ger., 
solveiri), sweet savory, fennel, c'arraway, loveage (Ger., 
liebsteckley), wormwood, pennyroyal and catnip. In the 
fall of the year these herbs were collected and dried for 
winter use. Along the garden fence, on the inside, were 
to be seen holly hocks and gooseberry and currant 
bushes, and on the outside, in the yard or lawn, a few 
beds of daffodils (smoke pipes), always yellow and white, 
peony and fleur-de-lis. Scattered through the yard were 
to be found a variety of shrubbery, such as rose bushes, 


lilacs, syringias and snow balls; against a lattice near 
the house a honeysuckle vine, and around the back door 
the familiar sunflower. 

The Old-Time Wells. 

Many of the people living along the old Niagara 
River, with their houses in close proximity to the bank, 
got their drinking water out of the river. This cus- 
tom still prevails. The farmers build wharves extend- 
ing out into the stream, so that they can dip up the 
clear running water, but on a windy day it is all riley 
enough. Any one who has been in the habit of drinking 
this water can never forget its peculiar flavor, although 
it tastes good when you are thirsty. Further back from 
the river they have always had wells, only they have 
had different ways of drawing the water. Before the 
days of the pump, and even since, if the water was close 
to the surface, a well, say ten or twelve feet deep, was 
dug in the ground and lined with stone. A curbing or 
box arrangement was put around the top to prevent any 
one from falling in. A pole, with a crook at one end for 
hanging the pail on, was used for pressing the pail down 
into the water and then drawing it up. Deep wells had 
a rope and windlass, with a heavy pail, usually left hang- 
ing to the rope, for drawing up the water. This is the 
kind of well which has been immortalized by that old 
song, "The Old Oaken Bucket that Hangs in the 


Well." Another kind of well was generally called a 
" sweep." A post with a crotch in the top was placed 
near the well ; in this swung a pole with one end much 
heavier than the other ; the light or upper end had a 
pole attached to it long enough to reach down into the 
well. On the end of this was placed the bucket, which, after 
being filled, was lifted by the weight of the heavy end of 
the pole which extended over the top of the post. Most 
of these wells, although still to be seen in remote places, 
have been supplanted by the more modern pump. The first 
pump to be used was the sucker pump. This was made 
by boring a hole lengthwise through a tamarac or pine log. 
A rod ran down through this, at the lower end of which 
was a sucker made of leather, in which was a valve which 
opened as the pump handle was raised and allowed the 
water to flow through, and closed as the handle was 
lowered, bringing the water up. Another kind of pump, 
which is very common in some localities, is the chain 
pump. It is not as ancient a pump as the sucker pump. 
A chain runs down and up through a pipe, and as the 
crank is turned the buttons, placed here and there along 
the chain, bring the water up. In connection with wells 
it might not be out-of-place to mention the " divining 
rod," which was used, and is still used in some places, 
for locating a place to dig a well. Whether there is any 
real virtue in it is a question, although there are intelli- 
gent people even now who have great faith in its efii 


cacy. In the opinion of the writer it is one of the 
myths which future developments in science and psychol- 
ogy will explain away. The operator, or " dowser," 
with a forked stick made of witch hazel, holding a prong 
in each hand, and with the crotch pointing upwards,walks 
over the ground until he reaches a point where water is 
to be found, when the crotch turns in his hand and points 
downwards. A recent paper states that in parts of 
Pennsylvania, where the practice was quite common, and 
in consequence of which many wells were dug in out-of- 
the-way places on the farm, it has been entirely aban- 
doned, as water can be found just as well without it. 
The following memoranda, showing the antiquity of the 
sucker pump, was found in an old account book : 

Dr. to 

J B and J G . 

To one pump auger and apparatus you bor- 
rowed several years ago and did not return. 
Said apparatus cost when new twelve and a 
half dollars (currency, 3 2s. 6d.). 
Willoughby, April 10th, 1837. 

The Family Cemetery. 

There being few public cemeteries, many of the old 
settlers had burying-grounds of their own on their 
farms. Here are to be found now head-stones marking 
the last resting-places of three or four generations of 
the family. When possible, some secluded place on the 


farm was usually selected as the place of interment, 
perhaps on the side of a hill, or near a creek or gully, 
and surrounded by willow trees and a picket, stone or 
board fence, to keep out intruders in the shape of cattle 
which might be grazing in the adjacent fields. After 
the people commenced to build churches they usually 
had cemeteries, or graveyards, as they were then called, 
in connection. 

It is to be regretted that many of these old cemeteries 
have been allowed to go to ruin. The fences in many 
cases have fallen down and the tombstones been broken 
and scattered by the cattle. This has been due, in most 
cases, to the land passing into the hands of strangers, 
who take no interest in these resting-places of the dead, 
with whom they are not connected by any blood 

The Rail Fence. 

The picturesque old rail, snake, worm or stake and 
rider fence, on account of the scarcity of timber, is 
gradually being done away with. In a very few years 
it will be a thing of the past. It is fast being super- 
seded by the barb-wire fence, and in localities where 
municipal laws have been framed to prevent animals 
running at large, many farmers do not build any fences 
at all after their old rail fences have been taken down. 
It required considerable time and labor to fence off a 


farm and divide it up into fields, but it was done, little 
by little, as the farmer cleared his land. Some of the 
farmers, after their fences commenced to rot away 
would take out the poorer rails and use them for 
summer firewood. They often supplied him with this 
kind of wood for years, until all the old fences were 
torn down. It was a familiar sight to see a pile of rails 
in the back yard, and it was the farmer's job at meal 
time, while waiting for his dinner, to cut up the wood. 
If he did not get enough cut you might often see his 
wife out breaking- up rails, gathering the small pieces 
into her apron and carrying them into the house to 
make a fire with which to cook her husband's supper. 

The following anecdote is related of the late President 
Lincoln. A wag once accosted him with : " Mr. Lincoln, 
I understand you were once a rail-splitter." "Yes," 
said Mr. Lincoln, " and if you had been a rail-splitter, 
you would be one still." Some of the old settlers were 
expert rail-splitters and could cut and split as many as 
one thousand rails in a clay. 

The tools used were the axe, maul or beetle and 
wedges, both iron and wooden. The timber chiefly 
used for this purpose was cedar, oak, ash,- chestnut, 
although other woods, as basswood, elm, hickory and 
even walnut, were sometimes made use of. The old 
rail fences, if properly taken care of, lasted many years 

In later years a rail fence was a very expensive fence 


to build. At one time it was reckoned that it cost sixty 
dollars to fence off an acre of ground. The usual length 
of the rails was eleven or twelve feet. Two lengths 
of eleven-foot rails when laid were said to make a rod 
of fence. It served as a measure for the land, however, 
and was very convenient for the farmer when putting 
in his crops. 

The fences were generally eight or nine rails high 
(seven or eight feet), the municipal by-laws, as a rule, 
requiring a certain height. In fact one of the municipal 
offices at one time was that of fence viewer. The rail 
placed above where the stakes were crossed was called 
the " rider." 

When clearing off their land the settlers, to keep out 
the cattle, would temporarilly build fences of brush, 
stumps or logs. They would chop down trees, so that 
they fell in a line. Around these they would pile brush ; 
when they were ready to build a rail fence they would 
set fire to the brush fence and burn it up. 



HE families, including the hired help, being 
usually large, it was necessary to bake 
large batches of bread. The earliest 
contrivance for this purpose was the 
" bake-kettle," an iron kettle, with long legs usually. 
The dough was placed in this kettle, after which the 
kettle was set on a bed of coals ; more live coals were 
then drawn over the cover and around the sides of the 
kettle, a fresh supply being raked on when those first 
put on had cooled, until the bread was baked sufficiently. 
In the absence of a bake-kettle, the bread was some- 
times baked in the hot ashes. After the bake-kettle 
came the " Reflector," called by some the " Dutch Oven." 
This appliance was mostly used for pastry-baking and 
for roasting meat. It was made of tin, the open side 
facing the hot fire, the top and back sloping so as to 
reflect the heat from the fire on whatever was being 
baked in it.! Later on, large ovens, built of brick, similar 


to those used by bakers, were built outside in the yard 
or in an outhouse. Sometimes they were built in the 
house, beside the fireplace and connected with the chim- 
ney, and opened out into one of the living rooms. Many 
of them held two or or three dozen loaves of bread. A 
fire was built in the oven, and, after it had been properly 
heated, the burning wood was removed, the oven cleaned 
out with a scraper and broom, and the lumps of dough 
placed on the brick floor. It was necessary to allow the 
oven to cool to a certain temperature before putting in 
the dough. To ascertain the right temperature some 
such rule as this was observed : The housewife would 
place her hand in the oven, and if she could hold it there 
while she counted twenty, the oven was considered in 
fit condition for baking in. A few of these old ovens 
are still to be found in connection with some of the old 
houses, but the modern range, on account of its conve- 
nience, has entirely supplanted the primitive oven. 
These brick ovens were sometimes also used for roasting 
meat and for drying apples and berries. 

Among the Pennsylvania Dutch, the bread, when 
being raised, was placed in conical-shaped straw baskets. 
After it had risen sufficiently, it was turned over on a. 
big wooden shovel and put into the oven. This same 
shovel was also used for taking out the bread after 
being baked. 


The Smoke-Houses. 

The hams and pieces of beef, after the butchering, 
were salted down in big casks or tubs kept for the 
purpose. In the spring of the year, generally about 
the first of April, the hams were taken out of the brine 
or pickle, washed off and hung up in the smoke-house. 
The smoke-house usually stood in the yard close by the 
brick bake-oven. Its walls were covered with grease, 
and had a strong odor about them of beech wood 
creosote. The smudge for making the smoke was got 
by burning beech or maple wood a certain amount of 
oil of smoke was distilled from this confined smoke, 
which gave the peculiar smell to the place and flavor to 
the hams, besides, by its antiseptic properties, acting as 
a preservative to the meat. 

When better classes of houses were built by the 
settlers, these smoke-houses were then built of brick or 
stone, which made them safer from being destroyed by 

The Old Workshop. 

Our grandfathers were also practical men with their 
other good qualities. They always kept a collection of 
tools on hand for doing any repairing necessary, as 
well as other kinds of work, while nowadays a skilled 
mechanic has to be employed to do the same class of 
work. In the old workshop was to be found a carpen- 


ter's bench, with vise, saws, planes, chisels, turning 
lathe, etc., as well as the old shaving horse, used for 
shaping shingles and pieces of wood for other purposes, 
which wooden horse, when children, we were fond of 
riding. Here in the workshop in rainy weather, or 
during the long winter days, our industrious grand- 
fathers might be seen busily engaged in making a 
whiffle-tree, fashioning a plough-handle, repairing their 
grain cradles, making ox yokes and axe helves, shaping 
shingles and doing sundry other odd jobs, while our 
grandmothers were toiling at the loom and spinning- 
wheel. In many cases part of the workshop was set 
apart for the weaving and the spinning. Here could be 
heard all day long the hum of the spinning-wheel and 
the rattle of the loom. 

The Old Grindstone. 

Somewhere on the premises, conveniently situated, 
stood the old grindstone. It was a veritable instrument 
of torture to smaller male members of the family, for 
when the axes, scythes, etc., required grinding, it gener- 
ally devolved upon the " small boy " to do the turning. 
If he saw one of the men appearing with a tool in one 
hand and a basin of water in the other, he knew he 
was in for a half hour's hard labor. How eagerly he 
watched, as the edge of the tool was being examined, to 
see whether it was sharp enough for the word to be 


given that would release him from the tiresome duty. 
How his arms did ache as he turned, first with one 
hand and then with the other, putting forth an extra 
effort when the tool was being pressed more firmly on 
the stone, and what a sense of relief and freedom he 
felt when the job was finished and he could run away 
and play. 

The Corn Crib. 

A pen picture of the farm buildings and their sur- 
roundings would not be complete without mention 
being made of the corn crib, which usually stood some- 
where on the premises in an exposed place. It was 
placed on posts, which raised it up from the ground 
several feet, so that the air could circulate freely under- 
neath. These posts were usually covered with tin or 
sheet iron, or had an old tin basin or pail turned upside 
down on the top, so as to prevent the rats and mice from 
getting at the corn. The sides and ends were made of 
slats placed several inches apart, so that the wind might 
have freedom to pass through, and so prevent the corn 
from heating and getting mouldy, which it is liable to 
do when kept in a pile. The ears of corn, after being 
husked, were placed in this crib, and allowed to remain 
there until needed for use, for feeding the pigs and fat- 
tening the poultry for market. The more primitive 
crib was made by boring holes in the foundation logs 



several inches apart, and placing stakes in them, on top 
of which was put a rail, to which the stakes were 
withed, and sometimes withes were put across the bin 
to prevent it from spreading. The top was thatched 
with straw, or covered with boards or hollowed bass- 
wood logs. 





HE first settlers did all their cooking and 
warmed their houses by means of fire- 
places. Until chimneys were built, they 
were obliged in some cases to let the 
smoke escape by a hole in the roof. A pole was run up 
from the ground through this hole, and it is said the 
smoke would circle around it, and so find its way out. 
It was necessary, of course, to keep a door or window 
open in order to get a draught. It was not until about 
seventy or eighty years ago that cooking stoves first 
came into use, and since then their use has changed 
things considerably, and so have the stoves, too, in style 
and shape. It was some time after their introduction, 
however, before their use became universal, as even 
fifty years ago many of the farmers in the country still 
did all their cooking in the old fireplaces. Among the 
first styles of cooking stoves in Upper Canada were the 
old " King " stove, with its elevated oven, the hollow 


place underneath the back part of the stove being 
usually kept filled with kindling and other wood to 
keep it dry, the " Burr " and " Davy Crockett," all 
familiar to many of the old folks, and reminders of the 
happy days gone by.* Big heavy box stoves, for heat- 
ing purposes, were introduced at the beginning of the 
century, but being expensive, the families who owned 
them were few and far between, some could not afford 
them, and others were slow in taking up with new- 
fangled ideas. One of these old stoves is still in the 
possession of the family of a descendant of one of the 
old pioneers. It has been in constant use since before 
the War of 1812-14. The writer's great-grandmother, 
being afraid that someone might steal or destroy it at a 
time during the war when she fled with her children 
for safety back into the country, had it sunk in the 
creek at the back of the farm, where it lay all one 
winter. f To this day it carries the marks of that bath, 
for the rust ate into its surface, although not enough to 

* It is said that years ago it was customary for men to make a 
business of peddling cooking stoves among the people ; they drove 
around with a load of stoves the same as is done with fanning-mills 
and sewing machines at the present day. 

t It was not always the soldiers who did the plundering of the old 
houses when they were deserted during war time, but evil-disposed 
people living in the country. The writer's great-grandfather's house, 
on the Niagara, which was a first-class house for the time, was strip- 
ped of everything valuable, such as locks, doors, etc., while the family 
were away. 


destroy the figures. It is a two-storey box stove, made 
of cast-iron plates, so arranged that it can be taken 
apart in the summer time and laid away. 

In the homes of a few of the well-to-do families was 
to be seen years ago the " Franklin" stove, said to be 
the invention of Benjamin Franklin. It was, in the 
way of heating, perhaps, the first remove from the fire- 
place, which it was certainly an improvement upon, as 
it had a stovepipe attached, and so prevented a great 
deal of the heat of the fire from passing up the chimney, 
a fault with the old fireplace. It had, like the fireplace, 
however, an open front with fire-dogs. After a while 
folks saw that by closing the front the fire burned just 
as well, and better ; this fact led to the invention of the 
box stove, and. later on the cooking stove. 

Most of us, who have always been accustomed to 
modern conveniences, can hardly imagine just what the 
simple, primitive life of our forefathers was like. Life 
in the backwoods to-day is different to what it was in 
the early days of settlement. 

The Old Corner Cupboard. 

In a corner of the dining or sitting-room was generally 
to be found the old corner cupboard, with its glass doors, 
behind which were placed the porcelain, china and glass- 
ware, the dishes covered with blue or red-colored pic- 
tures of Chinese pagodas, of landscapes, of men, women, 

An Old Corn Crib An Old Cider Press. 

Grandfather's Clock. 


animals and birds. The plates were usually set on edge 
around the sides of the cupboard and the nested cups 
and saucers in the centre. Below the dishes were sev- 
eral drawers for keeping the knives, forks and spoons in. 
In the bottom part of the cupboard, behind wooden 
doors, were usually kept handy such articles of food as 
bread, butter, sauce, a jug of milk, etc. When the chil- 
dren, after romping in the orchard, around the barn 
and stables and over the farm, came in tired and hungry, 
their kind-hearted aunt would go to the corner cupboard 
and spread them a thick slice of bread and butter, with a 
good liberal coating of apple sauce or " schmier kase," or 
perhaps give them a bowl of bread and milk. How very 
good things tasted when taken out of that old corner 
cupboard, with the appetite whetted by the active exer- 
cise of youth ! What epicurean dish could be manufac- 
tured to give equal enjoyment ? 

The Grandfather's Clock. 

In another prominent corner of one of the living 
rooms usually stood the grandfather's clock. Mostly it 
hung on the wall, with the weights by which it was 
wound dangling in the air ; or perhaps the works were 
fittingly enclosed in a suitable case. With its flowered 
dial, highly polished case and large pendulum, it was 
quite an imposing piece of furniture, and the sound it 
made as it struck the hours solemnly broke the stillness 


of the midnight air. With descendants of some of the 
old families may still be found one of these old clocks 
that has come down to them after a couple of hundred 
years ! Generations come and go, but still the Old clock 
wags on, a monument of bygone days. What a pleas- 
ant reminder of the old song: 

" My grandfather's clock was too long for the shelf, 

So it stood ninety years on the floor ; 
It was taller by half than the old man himself, 
Though it weighed not a pennyweight more." 

How interested we were in seeing grandfather wind 
up the clock ! When there was no one around, we would 
sometimes stealthily open the door and peer curiously 
in at the works. In many of the old clocks the wheels 
were made of wood, and not a few of the more expensive 
kind had music boxes attached, which served to make 
them still more attractive. In the early days peddlars 
(usually Yankees) went around among the people intro- 
ducing these clocks. After buying one, the farmer 
would engage a carpenter to make a case for it. Occa- 
sionally there would be found a house among the poorer 
class of settlers in which there was no clock, the time 
being told by the sunlight reaching a certain mark on the 
floor. On cloudy days the time for getting dinner had 
to be guessed. Sun-dials were also introduced and did 
the duty in some of the houses of indicating the time. 






The Old Flint-Lock Musket. 

The only gun in use, by the military as well as the 
people, seventy-five years ago or more was the old flint- 
lock musket. Breech-loading firearms were unknown. 
Even still, among the descendants of some of the old 
settlers, are to be found some of these old guns that did 
service perhaps in the War of 1812-14 and the Rebellion 
of 1837-38, handed down as family heirlooms. 

In the hammer of the flint-lock gun was fixed a piece 
of flint, which struck a piece of steel near the flash- pan 
when the trigger was pulled. This threw up the cover of 
the pan, flashed a spark into it, and so ignited the 
powder. If the gun had not been loaded so as to 
properly fill the vent hole which connected the flash- 
pan and the barrel with powder, there would be a " flash 
in the pan " but no discharge. The clumsy old horse 
pistols were made on the same principle as the guns, 
there being no revolvers then. 

Sometimes it was difficult to get these old flint-lock 
guns to go off'. If the powder happened to get the least 
bit damp it would not ignite. For this reason it was 
necessary to protect the gun from the wet, so as to have 
it in readiness. It is said the expression, " Trust in God 
and keep your powder dry," was first made use of by a 
certain general in the army many years ago, in the days 
of the flint-lock gun, when addressing his men previous 
to an engagement. After the heavy and cumbersome 


flint-lock gun came the gun with the percussion pill 
lock. A small percussion pill was placed over the vent 
hole of the gun perhaps smeared over with a little tallow 
to keep it in place and free from moisture when the gun 
was ready for being discharged. After the percussion pill 
came the percussion cap lock. Small copper percussion 
caps were placed on a nipple through which the vent 
hole passed. 

The percussion lock was an improvement and more 
convenient in every way than the flint lock, for it did 
not require " priming," I.e., putting powder into the 
flash-pan when loading. The percussion lock was also a 
" muzzle loader," i.e., the ammunition had to be put into 
the end of the barrel and pounded down with the ramrod 
carried in connection with the gun. It was loaded as 
follows : first the powder was poured in, then a piece 
of wadding (generally tow, although paper was sometimes 
used) was well rammed down, so that it would be sure 
to fill the vent hole with the powder. On this was 
poured the shot, after which another piece of wadding 
was shoved in to keep it down. 

If not properly loaded the gun was liable to burst 
and injure the marksman, perhaps blow off a hand or 
an arm, or even fatally wound him. Accidents of this 
kind happened occasionally. The old-fashioned flint-lock 
gun served both as a shot-gun and rifle, shot being used 
for killing wild fowl and small animals and bullets for 
larger game. Nowadays we have rifles with a special 


bore in the barrel for bullets only, as well as guns for 
shot. Hunting was a favorite pastime among the young 
men in the early days, many of them being " good shots." 
When not in use the old gun stood in the corner, or hung 
on the wall over the door, or against the chimney above 
the fireplace, where it was kept free from rust, besides 
being out of reach of the children. In the pioneer times 
it was used to kill bears, wolves and other wild animals, 
also crows, hawks, pigeons, etc., which were so plentiful 
that they were pests to the farmer, often doing consider- 
able damage to his crops, and not infrequently it served 
as a protection against marauding bands of Indians. 
The hunter always carried a powder horn attached to a 
string slung around his body. In addition to this he 
carried a bullet or shot pouch fastened to his belt. His 
bullets he made by pouring melted lead into moulds of 
different sizes kept for the purpose. Soldiers carried 
cartridges in their pouches. When loading, they bit off 
the end of the cartridge, poured a little of the powder 
out of the cartridge into the flash-pan, and the remainder 
into the barrel after which the paper wrapper and the 
bullet which was fastened to one end of the cartridge 
were shoved down with the ramrod. 

The Dinner Horn. 

At most of the farmers' houses a tin horn several feet 
long was kept for calling the men from their work in 
the fields, woods and barn to their meals. If there was 


no horn many of them would hang a white cloth on a 
pole where the men could see it. Often the hollow 
tinkle of an old cow-bell served the purpose and might 
be heard hoarsely reverberating over the fields and 
clearings. Sometimes an old worn-out cross-cut saw, a 
big steel triangle, or the .used-up mould board of a 
plough were hung up to a tree and hammered on, 
to notify the workers that dinner was ready. 

One of the writer's great-grandfathers had a horn 
made of a sea-shell, a conch, which is still in use in the 
family. Later on, some of the farmers had a bell 
placed on the roof of the house to call the men in 
from their work. Its melodious tones were never an 
unwelcome sound to the weary worker as he toiled in 
the harvest field, in the logging field, or at the plough. 
It announced a glad respite from labor, and the hungry 
laborer went towards the house with an appetite for 
dinner few city people know anything about. To a 
really hungry man everything tastes good ; he does not 
have to pamper his appetite with this and that dainty 
condiment, in order to be able to eat enough to properly 
nourish his body. 

It is said that even the horses well knew the sound 
of the dinner bell and would sometimes stop in the 
middle of the furrow and refuse to go any further until 
after they were fed. 


The Old Dash Churn. 

The first churn in use was the old dash churn. It has 
not as yet been altogether superseded, although newer 
styles, that are much easier to operate, have to a very 
large extent taken its place. It is doubtful, however, 
whether any of the new-fangled kinds make the butter 
taste any sweeter and richer than that made in the old- 
fashioned way. Possibly this was because of the labor 
required to produce it. How patiently did the women, 
with their capacious calico or linen aprons tied around 
them, stand beside the old-fashioned churn, and stomp 
away at the cream until the oily globules were gathered 
into a mass of golden butter. 

The first indications that the butter was coming 
was the heavy sound the cream made as it thickened, 
and the ring of butter which gathered around the hole 
in the cover through which the handle of the dasher 
passed. When the cover was raised, to see how the 
churning was progressing, you could see the dasher and 
sides of the churn covered with cream and flecked with 
little pieces of butter. Sometimes hot water was poured 
into the churn to raise the temperature and make the 
butter come more speedily. When the cover was 
removed for the last time and the butter taken out 
with the big wooden ladle, the children could be seen 
gathering round with cups for a refreshing drink of 


When the women were too busy to attend to all the 
dairy matters themselves, they would place a big apron 
around one of the small boys or girls, stand them on a 
stool and get them to do the churning. This was labor 
to us children, and the time would drag wearily until 
aunt came, examined the milk, and pronounced the 
churning finished. Our weariness was soon dispelled, 
however, by a thick slice of fresh bread and butter. 

So much for such homely work and its rewards, 
which, perhaps, the critical reader may not consider 
worthy the time bestowed upon describing. But it must 
be recorded, as we have undertaken to be the faithful 
chroniclers of the times and of the doings and manners 
of the people of whom we write, the early pioneers of 




ANY of the household utensils in use 
from fifty to one hundred years ago 
were very rude and plain, compared 
the machine-made articles in use at 
the present day. We will describe a few of the 
more common. Perhaps the rudest of the household 
utensils was the old-fashioned splint broom, corn-top 
brooms not being in use three-quarters of a century ago. 
It was sometimes called the Indian broom, as it was, no- 
doubt, first used by the Indians. They made them 
and peddled them around among the people. Many of 
the early settlers made such brooms themselves, fine 
ones being made for sweeping the house and coarser ones 
for scrubbing and for use around the barn and stables. 
Sometimes a bunch of blue beech twigs or hemlock 
boughs, tied together at the end of a stick, was made to 
serve as a kitchen broom. 



The splint broom was made in the following manner : 
A stick of green wood, usually hickory, birch or blue 
beech, one and a half or two inches in diameter, was first 
selected. After the bark had been removed the stick was 
splintered up for eight or ten inches with a sharp knife, 
commencing at the bottom, until enough splints had 
been made to form the centre of the broom, the part of 
that end of the stick remaining being cut off. The 
stick was then splintered for a certain distance from 
above, the splints being bent over so that they covered 
and reached to the bottom of the first lot of splints. 
The whole were then bound into a round bundle forming 
the broom, the part of the stick remaining, after being 
shaved down to the proper thickness, serving as a 
handle. When corn-top brooms came into use many of 
the farmers made their own, a patch of broom corn 
being raised for this purpose. 

Gourds were hollowed out and used for dipping water, 
soft soap, etc., as tinware was then more expensive than 
it is now. For dusting off the hearth the wing of a 
fowl, usually that of a turkey or goose, was used. 
When not in use it hung on a nail beside the fireplace. 

The old wooden boot-jack was always handy for the 
farmer to pull off his long cowhide boots after coming 
in from his work. It was to be seen hanging in a con- 
venient place. A common chair was the old-fashioned 
home-made splint-bottomed chair. Sometimes the bot- 


torn was made of strands of elm or willow-bark, and 
again of rushes. Like all the old furniture, though plain, 
it was strong and made to last. 

In the sleeping apartments of the family was to be 
seen the old family bedstead, with a high wooden frame- 
work on top enclosed by damask curtains, and with a 
white linen curtain or valance around the bottom of the 
bedstead, as well as the low trundle-bed, on wooden 
oastors or rollers, in which the children of the family 
slept in the same room with their parents, often until 
they were twelve or fourteen years of age, and which 
in the daytime was shoved underneath the large bed. 
When the farmer was short of bedroom space there was 
to be seen in the dining-room or kitchen the old- 
fashioned bunk, which served as a seat or bench in the 
day-time and a bed at night, the lower part being in the 
shape of a box, which, when opened up, disclosed a, 
quantity of bedclothing, and made a comfortable place 
for sleeping. Among the more fashionable articles of 
furniture were the big high bureau, the two-drawer 
stand, and the fall-leaf table. Nor must the important 
cheese-tub be omitted from this category. Our grand- 
mothers used it for making cheese, and also the dye- tub 
for dying cloth or yarn. For cooking in the fire-place 
there was the long-handled frying-pan, the long-handled 
skimmer and long-handled ladle. The handles of these 
utensils were made three or four feet in length, so that 


the cook could stand away from the heat of the fire. A 
rest usually stood in front of the fire-place for placing 
the handle on when the cook happened to be busy with 
other work. 

Many kept a fire-box, with handle attached, for carry- 
ing live coals from one room to another when making a 
fire before the days of matches. In some houses was 
to be seen the warming pan, with cover and long 
handle. It was not connected with cooking operations, 
as many might suppose from its shape, but was filled 
with live coals and passed underneath the bed-clothes to 
warm them up on cold winter nights. 

For making pancakes they had a griddle with an iron 
bail made fast to it for hanging it to the crane. The 
waffle irons also deserve mention. They were filled with 
batter and buried in the coals. They also had toasters 
for setting before the fire. 

Pewter and Crockeryware. 

In the early days, china, porcelain and glassware 
being very expensive, as all articles of that character 
had to be imported from the Old Country, pewter and 
crockeryware were quite common among the people. 
Occasionally there might be seen a few pieces of china, 
as, for instance, a sugar bowl, cream pitcher, or teapot, 
ornamenting the mantel, which were kept as cherished 
heirlooms in the family, and perhaps were owned by 


some great-grandmother who lived in the colonial times 
of New England, or belonged to some remote ancestor 
in the Old Country, who lived 1 50 or 200 years before. 
Fifty and seventy- five years ago, even, there was not 
nearly as much porcelain ware to be seen among the 
common people as now, many of the dishes, cups 
and spoons being made of pewter. Although most of 
the farmers had a set of earthenware dishes, yet, for 
fear they should get broken, many of them supplied 
their children with pewter cups and plates ; and if we 
went far enough back to the scant days of the early 
pioneer times, when dishes of any kind were still 
scarce, we might occasionally see some of the children 
all eating out of the same dish of soup or porridge set 
up in the centre of the table, and no doubt it tasted just 
as good as if each one had had a portion in a separate 
bowl. Milk and water pitchers and the six-penny and 
shilling (York) crocks for holding the milk were made 
of crockery ware. A few horn spoons were to be seen, 
especially among the Scotch settlers, who used them for 
their porridge. Spoons and plates made of , wood were 
also brought into requisition. Pewter ware was not 
easily broken, and was, therefore, the most economical 
kind to use. If the hunter happened to be out of 
bullets he would often take the broken spoons, etc., 
melt them in an iron vessel and pour them into the 
bullet moulds. 


Candles and Candlesticks. 

We can scarcely realize that it is little more than 
fifty years since coal gas was introduced, coal oil * within 
the last half a century, and incandescent and electric 
lights within the last twenty-five years. Before the 
introduction of coal oil lamps the common method of 
lighting was by tallow candles, Dutch lamps, the tallow 
dip, and pine knots, and many an ambitious youth in 
those days read and studied by no other light than 
that obtained from the burning logs in the fire-place. 
Although the candle does not give the amount of light 
that is to be obtained from coal oil, gas, or electricity, 
the old settlers loved its flickering, mellow light, and 
even after the introduction of modern methods of light- 
ing, many of them continued to prefer the use of candles. 
Candles were made in tin moulds. The cotton wick 
was stretched through the mould, tied in a knot at the 
pointed end, and attached to a stick at the large end. 
The mould was then filled with melted tallow and set 
away for the tallow to cool and harden, after which the 
candles were drawn out and put away in the candle-box 
for future use. 

The candlesticks for holding the candles were of all 
kinds and sizes, from the most expensive silver, brass, 
china and crystal, down to the ordinary tin candlestick, 

* Coal oil, called "kerosene," when first introduced, being poorly 
refined, had a bad odor. 


with the bottom in the form of a tray for holding the 
snuffers and burnt matches. The snuffers were a 
specially- prepared kind of scissors for cutting off the 
charred part of the wick, so that the candle would burn 
brighter. The extinguisher was a small, cone-shaped 
article, attached to the candlestick by a chain, and used 
for placing over the flame of the candle when you wished 
to extinguish it. Dutch lamps were flat, urn-shaped 
vessels made of iron, brass and copper. They were 
filled with lard oil, the wick protruding from the side 
by a nose. A chain attached, with a hook to it, was 
used for hanging the lamp up. The hook was also used 
for drawing out the wick when it burned low. This 
lamp was introduced into the country by the Dutch and 
German settlers. 

The tallow-dip was made by twisting strands of cotton 
twine, attaching a number of them to a stick and dip- 
ping them into melted tallow, repeating the operation as 
soon as the tallow had hardened, until proper-sized can- 
dles were obtained. After the introduction of the tin 
mould for making candles this operation was discarded 
by mest people. 

For use around the barn and stables there was the 
old-fashioned tin lantern, without any glass, but perfor- 
ated with holes for the light to shine through, and with 
a tallow candle inside. After this came the lanterns 
with glass sides. Many of the old settlers soaked the 
rush tops in oil and used them for lighting purposes. 


The " Witch " was made by putting a coil of cotton 
rag into a saucer of tallow or other grease, the burning 
end being allowed to hang over the edge of the saucer. 
In the public halls and churches, to light up the assem- 
blages, there were the " sconces," i.e., candlesticks made 
of tin for hanging to a nail in the wall, the high back of 
the sconce serving as a reflector, besides a candlestick or 
two sitting on the pulpit or desk for the speaker to see 
by. These lighting arrangements showed up the room 
very dimly compared to our present brilliant means of 
lighting by gas and electricity. Frequently people, and 
generally at the singing-schools, took their own candles 
with them to see to sing and read by. These were truly 
old-fashioned times, but their simplicity and spirit of 
industry made them all the more enjoyable. When we 
pause for a moment to picture to ourselves our grand- 
fathers and grandmothers moving around in the hazy 
light of the tallow candle and the fire-place, we are 
impelled to exclaim, "Truly, what great changes the 
past century has wrought ! " 

Tea and Coffee and Their Substitutes. 

Such luxuries as tea and coffee were much more 
expensive in the early times than they are now, on 
account of the greater cost of carriage and the heavy 
duties then imposed upon them. Our economical fore- 
fathers, however, knew how to adjust themselves to 





circumstances, and when they could not afford the 
genuine article they always had something to take 
its place. As a substitute for tea they used decoc- 
tions of such herbs and barks as sage, thyme, choco- 
late root, spice wood, hemlock boughs and sassafras, 
and for coffee they roasted peas and barley, acorns 
and dandelion roots, rye and carrots, or they toasted 
bread and made a decoction of the crust. When the 
genuine coffee became cheaper, its use was quite 
common among the people generally, only that they 
bought it green and roasted and ground it themselves. 
The familiar sound of the coffee-mill, as the housewife 
ground up the roasted bean previous to preparing the 
favorite breakfast beverage, as well as the aroma from 
the kitchen that followed it, were intimations to the 
tardy riser that it was time to get up. The original 
hand coffee-mill was round or square, and made of iron 
or wood. Later on came the kind that was fastened by 
screws to the mantel over the fire-place or the window- 
jamb. These hand coffee-mills were sometimes used 
for grinding wheat for porridge, as well as pepper and 
other spices for seasoning purposes. 

Lighting the Fire. 

Lucifer or friction matches are a comparatively recent 
invention. It is not much more than fifty years since Con- 
grieve brought out his self -lighting or phosphorus-tipped 


match. The first matches of this kind were made in 
blocks, and were so imperfect that it was some years after 
their invention, however, before their use became gen- 
eral. In the early days, and well on into the middle 
of the nineteenth century, fire was got by means of the 
flint and tinder-box. When fire was so difficult to 
obtain people were very careful not to let their fires 
go out, and it was no uncommon sight to see persons 
going a mile or two through the snow to their nearest 
neighbor's to get a few coals to start the fire on a cold 
winter's morning. It was the custom to cover up the 
bed of coals with ashes at night before retiring, so that 
there would be some left with which to start the fire in 
the morning, all that was necessary being to add kind- 
ling wood and blow the embers into a flame with the 
hand bellows. 

The following amusing incident is told by a descend- 
ant of one of the old pioneers : One morning, the fire on 
the hearth having gone out, one of the daughters cut 
up a handful of cotton cloth and placed it in the fire- 
place, while one of the sons loaded the gun with a 
wadding of cotton and discharged it into the bundle of 
rags, so as to set them on fire. The father of the family, 
who was still sleeping, was awakened by the report of 
the gun, and carne hurriedly downstairs, thinking some- 
thing terrible had happened, but was well contented 
when he found a blazing fire the result. 

When matches were first introduced they were not, 


as now, tipped with phosphorus, but were simply pieces 
of stick dipped in melted sulphur. These sulphur sticks, 
or matches, as they were called, were lighted by placing 
them in contact with live coals or the flame of a candle. 

When we stop to consider, we have reason to be startled 
by the fact that we now enjoy so many privileges and 
means of comfort that were unknown fifty years ago 
even. We are led to conclude that the past century 
has seen more progress than any previous century of 
which we have any record in the world's history. 

The tinder-box was a tin box with a tight-fitting 
cover, used for making and preserving the tinder, which 
was made by holding finely-cut cotton or linen rags 
over the uncovered box, setting them on fire and, after 
they were all in a blaze, allowing them to drop into the 
box beneath, then replacing the cover and smothering 
the fire. The charred remains formed the tinder. To 
get a light all that was necessary was to strike the 
flint and steel together over the opened box, so that the 
sparks would fall into it and ignite the tinder, after 
which it was touched with a sulphur stick and the fire 
applied to the kindling- wood in the fire-place. This was 
the English way. 

Among most of the early settlers punk a fungus 
growth in decaying wood, thoroughly dried frequently 
took the place of the tinder. The flints* they used were 

*The flints used were sometimes taken from the old flint-lock 


often Indian arrow-heads, which were found in many 
places when ploughing. By placing a piece of punk 
on the flint, held in the left hand, and striking the flint 
with a piece of steel (usually the back of the steel blade 
of a pocket-knife *) held in the right hand, the sparks 
would fly on to the punk and ignite it, after which it 
was placed in the fire-place, kindling-wood added and 
blown into a flame. 

Some used the old flint-lock gun for starting a fire 
Some such combustible material as tow or linen cloth 
cut fine was placed in the flash pan of the gun. The 
trigger being pulled, sparks would fly into the pan and 
cause ignition. Once, when an uncle of the writer was 
getting fire in this way, the gun happened to be loaded. 
The steel ramrod, which was in the gun at the time> 
was driven into the board ceiling of the room, where it 
was allowed to remain for some time as a reminder of 
the incident. 

These were slow and tedious ways of obtaining fire, 
but they were the only means known (with the excep- 
tion of the sun glass) to our grandfathers. 

* Some knives had a special blade for this purpose, and some men 
carried a small pocket steel made for striking a light. It is said that 
the knife blades were frequently deeply indented by constant use on 
the flint. 




ROADCLOTH was not unknown in the 
early days, but the wearing of such 
clothing was restricted to weddings and 
special holiday occasions, the ordinary 
clothing of the people being made from what was called 
" homespun." The wool was carded, dyed, and spun by 
the good housewife or some of the female members of 
the family, and in many cases woven by them or by 
some neighbor who had a loom, after which it was fulled 
to prevent it from shrinking. An itinerant tailor, when 
he could be had, was engaged to come to the house to 
mend and make up clothing for the whole family. 
Stockings in abundance were knit for the family by the 
old grandmother or aunt, etc. Many of us, brought up 
in such households, can imagine we hear the click of her 
needles or see the elderly dame glancing over the top of 
her spectacles to observe what was going on, or to make 
some necessary remark. 



A favorite cloth for women's dresses was the " linsey- 
woolsey," a mixture of linen and woolen. It made a very 
pretty dress, the cloth being woven in stripes of several 
colors. The yarn was colored previous to weaving, our 
grandmothers keeping a special tub for this purpose. 
The dyes used were most of them homemade. Indigo 
was used for dying blue, madder for red, butternut 
husks or sumach blossoms for brown, onion skins, wax- 
wood or golden rod for yellow and beech tree bark for 

The Fashions in Dress. 

The fashions in dress in the early days were many 
and diverse, many of the religious denominations having 
a style of dress peculiar to themselves. Some of them 
dressed very plainly, it being considered an indication 
of pride to dress at all gaudy. As at present, the styles 
varied from time to time ; certain innovations and 
changes in style coming in and going out, changing with 
the seasons of the year. In the first half of the century 
the prevailing style of dress coat was the frock coat, 
similar in appearance to the present Prince Albert, but 
longer. The large and roomy box-coat, with big pockets 
in the sides and brass and horn buttons, so common in 
the eighteenth century, was worn by some of the older 
men. Later on came the cutaway, now called the 
morning coat. Among the Mennonites and Tunkers 


many wore the swallow-tail or shad-belly coat, similar 
in shape to the present full dress coat, only the collars 
were straight, i.e., made to stand up instead of to lie 
down. At the beginning of the century, among the 
English people, and the New Englanders, knee breeches 
and long stockings were worn by the men, but we have 
no knowledge that this custom prevailed in Canada to 
any great extent, trousers or pantaloons being the style. 
The old English style must have been in vogue in 
Canada amongst certain classes for a time at least after 
the Revolutionary War, for Mr. Kirby, in his "Annals of 
Niagara," in describing the meeting of the first Parlia- 
ment of Upper Canada, in 1792, says that at that 
gathering " the people were in their best holiday attire. 
The men, in the fashion of the times, in long stockings, 
garters and shoes, with their hair in queues, surmounted 
by three-cornered hats ; the women in dresses high- 
waisted, with tight sleeves and bunched up behind over 
elaborate petticoats." Among the women there was to 
be seen at various times the poke bonnet, the cottage 
bonnet, the Quaker scoop and numerous other styles of 
head-dress, the more stylish ones being made of beaver, 
Leghorn or straw. They did their hair up in plaits, 
waterfalls, curls, or in a coil behind, but with no bangs. 
Hoops held sway for quite a time, but even they were 
more sensible than the modern corset, which gives shape 
and figure to a woman at the expense of health, for, no 


doubt, they are the cause of much of the headaches and 
other diseases, as well as premature deaths, so unhappily 
prevalent among the ladies.* The plug or silk hat (at 
one time made of beaver skin with the fur side out) has 
always, with its many changes in shape, been more or 
less fashionable among professional men, not excepting 
the old time dandy or the young man who wished to 
cut a dash among the ladies. 

Our Grandmothers' White Caps. 

It was the custom in the early days for all the old 
women to wear white caps. Among certain religious 
denominations, such as the Mennonites, Tunkers and 
Quakers, even the young women, as soon as they were 
enrolled as members, were obliged to comply with the rules 
of the society and don the conventional white cap. White 
caps were worn night and day, only the night cap, worn 
while sleeping, being plainer than that worn in the day- 
time. These caps, no doubt, may have detracted from the 
beauty of the wearer somewhat, yet for all that,the women 
looked well in their quaint attire. They always kept 
themselves so prim and nice, great pains being taken in 
ironing and starching the frills on the borders of their 
caps, and the strings or ribbons that fell down the fair 

*Ear-rings were at one time quite the fashion among the ladies. 
Very few of the belles of the day were seen without thorn. 



rosy cheeks and were tied in a bow knot underneath the 
chin. We have handed down to us from the times of our 
grandmothers odd-shaped irons for ironing and fixing 
these frills, and mangles (made something like wringers 
with wooden rollers) for smoothing the caps. 



N imagination we can see the industrious 
aunt walking back and forth beside 
the spinning- wheel, attaching a length 
of carded wool to the spindle, then 
twirling the monster wheel* and drawing the wool out 
into yarn, stopping now and then to examine the thread 
and singing to herself as she marches back and forth 
over the floor. Day in and day out she keeps at it. 
After she has a spindle full of yarn it is wound on the 
reel into skeins, a peculiar clock-work contrivance 
attached to the machine, making a click every time a 
knot is wound on. After enough knots had been wound 
on to make a skein, they were tied together and hung 
up. Four skeins of fourteen knots each was considered 
a good day's work.-|- A machine called " The Swift " was 

* To turn the large wheel some spinners held in the right hand a 
small forked stick. 

t A certain number of skeins was called by some " a run." 


used for unwinding the skeins when the yarn was being 
wound into balls. 

For spinning flax a smaller wheel was used. It was 
kept in motion by a treadle worked by the foot, the 
operator sitting down while spinning. A bunch of flax 
was fastened on to the distaff, a forked stick at the front 
end of the wheel. The white flax was pulled off the 
distaff, attached to the spindle by the spinner, and length- 
ened out into linen thread, which was tied into bundles 
called " hanks." 

The high wheel for spinning wool, it appears, was used 
by most of the descendants of the settlers from the 
United States, and was probably the kind used by the 
people of New England, New York, New Jersey and 
Pennsylvania. The low wheel was used mostly by the 
settlers from England, Ireland, Scotland and Germany. 

Straw Working. 

One of the many domestic industries of the early 
time was the straw working. The stalks of grain for 
this purpose, in order to prevent them from becoming 
too brittle, were usually cut before the grain had 
thoroughly ripened and put away in sheaves until 
wanted. Oat, wheat and rye straw (preferably rye, 
as it was long and pliable) were the kinds mostly used, 
although the straw of the wild rice, which grew in 
swales and swampy places, was considered superior. 


The straw was first plaited into strands and then sewed 
together into hats for both men and women, and for 
boys and girls. The hats were bleached by exposure 
to the fumes of sulphur burnt in a covered box or 
barrel. This kind of hat is still worn among the 
farmers. There are, however, but comparatively few 
of the women nowadays who understand how to make 
them, this work being generally done in hat factories. 
The straw beehives were quite common fifty and sixty 
years ago. A strand of straw was twisted into a 
coarse rope, which, as it lengthened out, was coiled (com- 
mencing at the top) into a conical-shaped hive. The 
coils were bound together, as the hive took shape, 
with cords or strips of elm bark. This kind of hive, 
although light, was lasting and made a warm home for 
the bees during the long winter months.* Baskets of 
all sizes were made of straw on the same principle at 
the farm houses. Such straw work was both strong 
and durable and, if well made, would outlast the Indian 
or splint baskets. Among the Pennsylvania Dutch 
conical-shaped baskets made of straw were used for 
raising their bread in. 

* It is said the bees sealed up the holes in the hives, so as to make 
them proof against frost and cold. 


Milking Time. 

Nowadays on the farm hired men mostly do the 
milking, the women usually having enough to do in the 
house, but years ago it was as much a woman's work, 
if not more so than a man's, to do the milking. About 
milking time might be seen the housewife with a sun- 
bonnet or a colored handkerchief tied over her head and 
several pails in her hand hieing away to the barnyard 
to milk the cows. After the milk had been emptied 
out of the pails, the latter were washed out and placed 
upside down on the pickets of the garden fence to dry. 
We can see now, in imagination, the grandmother, as she 
sat on the three-legged stool milking, and, as Brindle 
switched her tail or moved her leg to shake off some 
offending fly, nearly putting her foot into the pail or 
upsetting it, we can hear grandmother saying, " So, 
bossie, so." Each milker had certain cows to milk, it 
being thought that a cow would not yield its milk so 
readily to a strange milker. It was the small boy's 
work to bring the cows from the pasture field in the 
evening and take them back again in the morning 
before going to school. He was generally accompanied 
back and forth by the farm-house dog. The cows 
could be seen moving slowly toward the bars in re- 
sponse to the familiar call of " Co, boss ; co, boss ; co, 
co, co," those that lagged behind being brought up by 
the dog. 


Plucking Geese. 

The geese were generally plucked three or four times 
-during the year, or once in every seven weeks, com- 
mencing in the month of June. In some places the 
practice is contrary to law, it being considered as cruelty 
to animals, but in the early days it was very common, 
every farmer keeping a flock of geese for this purpose. 
The plucking was done by the women,* the down being 
made into pillows and feather ticks. Among the Ger- 
mans and Pennsylvania Dutch it was the custom, as 
a matter of economy and comfort in the winter time, to 
have a feather tick on top instead of quilts. To most 
of us, however, the greatest luxury in the way of a bed 
was the old cord-bottomed bedstead, with its snugly- 
filled straw ticks, woollen blankets and " patchwork " 
quilts. It was about as comfortable as the modern 
spring mattress, although it had a tendency to sag in 
the centre after it had been used a while. It was quite 
a feat for the small children to clamber up the high 
sides of the tick when freshly filled with straw. How 
father would stretch and strain as he tugged at the 
cords, or with a stick or hammer handle twisted the 
round sides of the bed, in order to screw it into the 
posts and so tighten the ropes attached to the knobs on 
the outside of the rail when putting up the beds. 

* Bees were often made for plucking the geese. Grandmother 
would put a stocking over the head of the goose when plucking it. 
This was done to keep the goose from biting. 


Soap Making. 

We have previously mentioned that in our grand- 
father's time nothing was wasted everything was 
utilized. All scraps of grease, fat, pork, rinds, etc., were 
thrown together in a box or barrel until sufficient had 
been collected for making a batch of soap. This had to 
be made in the right time of the moon, otherwise the 
soap would shrink and not be so bulky, at least so our 
superstitious forefathers thought. The lye used in 
making soap was obtained in plenty from hardwood 
ashes. The ash leach was usually a permanent fixture 
in some out-of-the-way corner of the back yard. Some- 
times it was made out of a length of a hollow basswood 
log, and also by knocking the bottom out of a barrel 
and setting it on a board raised up from the ground 
several feet, and tilted so as to carry off' the lye, by a 
groove in the board, into a crock or pail placed under- 
neath. In the leach was placed, first, a layer of straw, 
then a quantity of lime, and on that the ashes. Water 
was next poured on, which, as it soaked through, dis- 
solved the alkaline salt (caustic potash). The making 
of a batch of soap usually occupied a whole day, from 
early morn till late at night. A pole was hung on 
several crotched sticks placed in the ground a few feet 
apart; on this the large iron kettle full of lye and 
grease was placed and a brisk fire built underneath. 


There were two kinds of soap hard and soft. If hard 
soap was to be made it required more boiling than for 
soft, besides the addition of a little salt and resin. 

In regard to the superstition as to the time of the 
moon in which the soap had to be made, we might say 
it is doubtful whether there is really anything in it, 
notwithstanding that many people still hold to the 
belief. A soap manufacturer of many years' experience 
told the writer that he paid no attention whatever to 
the moon when making soap. This ought to be proof 
enough that the old idea is a fallacy. 


Among the settlers the making of potash was quite 
an industry, as it is yet in some of the backwoods set- 
tlements. The ashes of the hardwood logs, after the 
log-heaps had been burnt up, were gathered together 
and put into large wooden leaches. The lye which was 
obtained was evaporated by boiling to obtain the resi- 
due, which was crude potash. Great heat was necessary 
to boil down the lye. The potash industry was quite a 
source of revenue to the pioneers. Quantities were 
shipped to Montreal, where a fair price was obtained. 

Cheese Making. 

Nowadays, here and there through the country, we 
find cheese factories. A wagon is sent round every 
morning to collect the big cans of milk, which are filled 


after milking and left standing on platforms by the 
roadside at the front of the farm. In the early days 
there were no cheese factories, and therefore the farmers 
had to make their own cheese. Usually this work was 
done by the women. The ordinary or English cheese 
was made in the following manner : First, a calf was 
killed, the stomach was taken out, rinsed off, and dried 
for the sake of the rennet (pepsin) which it contained. 
The sweet milk was brought to blood-heat, and a solu- 
tion, made from small pieces of the rennet, added, when 
the curd formed would separate. The whey was then 
drained off, the curd cut up fine, seasoned with salt, and 
put in a lever-press (afterwards screw), which removed 
the balance of the whey and pressed the curd into a 
solid block of cheese. A cloth was then placed around 
each cheese, after which it was set away until it was 
cured enough to be ready for use. 

Among the German settlers it was customary to make 
the sour milk into different kinds of cheese. One of the 
most common kinds was the "schmier kase," or sour 
curd cheese, made by taking sour milk after it had 
become thick, subjecting it to moderate heat, or scalding 
it slightly, when the solid part of the milk would 
separate from the whey ; it was then put into a cloth 
bag and hung up to drain. This kind of cheese, intro- 
duced by the Pennsylvania German settlers, became 
popular among all classes living in the vicinity of the 


German settlements. It is a wholesome and delicious 
article of diet. Usually cream was added when made 
ready for the table. 

The <; hand kase," or ball cheese, was made by taking 
the same cheese, seasoning it with salt and butter, and 
then rolling it by the hand into balls, and laying it away 
to ripen or cure. 

The pot cheese was made by taking the sour curd 
cheese, packing it in a crock after seasoning, and setting 
it away in a warm place to decay or ripen. Among the 
Germans it was greatly relished. The odor from it was 
not unlike that of the famous " Limburger," and to a 
person unaccustomed to it was rather offensive. 

How Sauer Kraut was Made. 

A certain medical writer has called sauer kraut 
"rotten cabbage." Even though it may be cabbage in 
a somewhat putrid or fermented state, and unfit food 
for persons with weak digestion, it certainly served a 
helpful purpose on the bill of fare of the early settler, 
especially in the winter time, when green vegetables 
and fresh meats were scarce. It was rightly considered 
a preventative of scurvy, and for that reason is gener- 
ally laid in stock by sailors and soldiers who expect to 
have to subsist for any length of time on salted pro- 
visions. The Germans are credited with being the 
originators of this article of diet, and even now among 


them its use is more common than among other classes 
of people. 

The usual method of preparing sauer kraut by our 
forefathers was as follows : In the afternoon the cab- 
bage was gathered and brought into the house, and in 
the evening it was trimmed of its outer leaves and cut 
fine. Some would use a bright clean spade for cutting 
it up, but most folks had a board with knives fitted in, 
the sharp edge of the knives projecting slightly as in a 
plane. On this a box without a bottom, raised up above 
the knives by cleats at the sides of the board, was 
placed. The board being placed over the top of an 
empty barrel, the box was filled with cabbage, and as it 
was run back and forth over the board the cabbage was 
cut into shreds and dropped into the barrel beneath. 
The cabbage was arranged in the barrel in layers, with 
a goodly quantity of salt between each layer. After 
the barrel was filled the cabbage was stomped down 
with a wooden stomper, then covered with boards, on 
which were placed heavy stones, when it was left for 
several weeks or a month to ferment or become sour, 
when it was ready for use. In order to keep the sauer 
kraut from spoiling, the brine which formed was always 
supposed to cover the cabbage. Among the Old Country 
Germans it is said (although the veracity of the state- 
ment has never been vouched for) that the cabbage was 
stomped down with the bare feet. This should be 


no detriment to the cabbage; provided the feet were 

In pressing the grape in the wine countries of Europe 
the help of the naked feet is resorted to, and the wine 
is none the worse of the process. But still the weight 
of evidence is against the belief that this practice has 
ever been adopted in preparing cabbage for sauer kraut. 

NOTE. It was principally among the German settlers, or those of 
German descent, that sauer kraut was an article of diet. 





FTER the orchards which the first settlers 
planted out had matured (which for 
apples generally took about twenty-five 
years), they had fruit in abundance. 
Large quantities of apples were shipped away to the 
new settlements, where the settlers had none. The 
balance was either packed away for winter use, or made 
into cider and apple-sauce, or apple-butter, as some still 
call it. We cannot say just where the custom of making 
apple-sauce originated, but apparently our forefathers 
brought the custom with them from their former homes 
in the States. It is probable that it was introduced by 
their ancestors when they came from Europe, where the 
custom also prevailed. The windfalls, i.e., apples which 
had been blown down by the wind, along with apples 
of a poorer grade were heaped up in a waggon-box and 
taken to a cider mill, which some person in the neigh- 
borhood was sure to possess, one mill sufficing for a 


number of families, although cider-making was a busi- 
ness of itself, and was a source of profit to any one 
owning a mill. 

Cider was generally made out of the sour apples, the 
sweet apples being kept for thickening the cider after 
it had been boiled into syrup. In the early days the 
apples were not wormy, and, therefore, did not require 
any more attention than a slight washing, and some- 
times not even that, before being sent to the mill. The 
cider mill and press were usually kept in an outhouse 
erected for the purpose. The apples were first ground 
up in the mill. The cider mill consisted of two solid 
wooden cylinders, from two and a half to three feet in 
length, and one and a half feet in diameter, placed close 
together, horizontally, in a framework of wood. The 
surface of the cylinders was ribbed or fluted, so that the 
flutings of the one cylinder fitted in exactly between 
the flutings of the other, like the cogs of two wheels. 
The apples being poured into a hopper were drawn in 
between these wooden wheels, which crushed them into 
a pulp. One of the cylinders was longer and reached 
above the other. To the top of this long cylinder was 
fastened a pole ; a horse was hitched to this pole and 
driven around the mill, causing the cylinder to revolve. 
After the apples had been put through the cider mill, 
the pulp thus formed was placed in the press and the 
juice squeezed out. The first press was a clumsy affair, 


the hand or screw press coming later on. A square box 
arrangement, made of hardwood slats, was placed on a 
heavy beam ; this beam had an upright piece of timber 
fastened to the end of it ; another beam, say about thirty 
feet long, with one end mortised in this upright piece, 
extended over the box and had another box weighted 
with stones attached to the end, so arranged that by 
turning a wooden screw that fastened into the beam the 
box and beam could be raised or lowered so as to bring 
the weight of both down on the apple pulp which had 
been placed in the first box. In the bottom of the slat 
box was placed a layer of straw. The ground up apples 
were put into a cloth and placed on top of this, and on 
the top of the whole was placed a number of wooden 
blocks, which extended above the top of the box for the 
beam to rest upon, and so squeeze out the juice. Cider 
was mostly used for making apple-sauce, but a few 
barrels, called by some rack cider, were kept for drink- 
ing purposes, for the different bees, and harvest time, 
and social gatherings. After temperance sentiments 
gained ascendancy the custom was abolished, for, after 
the cider had been kept a while, it became " hard." 
Hard cider, because it contained a percentage of alcohol, 
was very intoxicating. It was sometimes called " Apple 
Jack." Cider was also made into vinegar, and of the 
best quality ; by being left exposed to the air, i.e., 
not corked up, it became vinegar in a few months' time. 


Among people who had no orchards it was customary 
to make pumpkin sauce. In appearance it was much 
like apple-sauce, but had, of course, a different flavor. 
Some of the pumpkins were boiled, and the juice 
squeezed out. The juice obtained was put into a kettle 
over the fire, sliced pumpkins and sometimes sliced 
apples being added, and the whole then made into a 

Making Apple Butter. 

The boiling down of the cider into sauce or apple 
butter, as it was called by "some, was a job which required 
a good deal of time and labor. On the morning of the 
day set for the work, the big copper, or brass kettle kept 
for the purpose, and very often holding a barrel of cider, 
was brought out, scoured, and after being hung on a 
pole placed over crotched sticks fixed in the ground a 
few feet apart, it was filled with cider and a brisk fire 
built underneath. The boiling down of the cider to a 
syrupy consistence was commenced early in the morning ; 
about three or four o'clock in the afternoon the apples 
(preferably sweet), which had been previously pared, 
cored and sliced, were added. After three or four more 
hours' boiling over a slow fire, so that the same would 
not burn, and constant stirring with a short board or 
paddle full of holes fastened to the end of a long pole, or 
an appliance fitted with paddles and placed in the kettle 
to prevent the apples from settling to the bottom and 


burning, the sauce was finished. It was then flavored 
to suit the taste, with either cinnamon, allspice, nutmegs, 
sassafras or other. spices, put in crocks and stored away 
for future use. The keeping qualities of the sauce 
depended largely on the amount of boiling given it. 
Why it was called " apple butter " we do not know. It 
may have been because it was so often spread on the 
bread like butter, or it may have been because when 
kept very long it would sometimes get solid and could 
be cut with a knife like butter. The name was not 

Honey Gathering, Straw Hives, and Superstitions 
about Bees. 

Sitting around the garden walks were to be seen the 
conical-shaped straw hives. When the season for honey 
gathering was over, the bees were suffocated with smoke, 
or by the fumes of burning brimstone, and the honey 
taken from the hive, a few hives being reserved for 
breeding purposes the following year. Some peculiar 
superstitions, too, prevailed regarding bees. If there 
happened to be a death in the family, the duty devolved 
on some one of tapping on the hive and notifying the bees, 
else it was believed the bees would die also. 

When the bees swarmed and were taking their flight 
all hands would get out and hammer on tin basins and 
pails, and it was the custom to flood sunlight into their 


midst by the use of a mirror. The noisy sound made 
was supposed to represent thunder and the flash of light 
lightning, so as to give the bees the impression that 
a thunder storm was coming up and so cause them to 
alight near home. This practice can not exactly be 
called a superstition, and whether or not it was of any 
value in preventing the bees from getting away out of 
reach is doubtful. It was considered unlucky to sell a 
hive of bees. If it were known that a man had more 
hives or " skips " of bees than he wanted, any person 
wishing to get a hive would simply go to this man's 
place and carry away one of his hives. He would not 
pay for it in person, but would leave an equivalent in 
money lying around where it could easily be seen 

A fermented liquor called " methigelum " was made 
by some of the people from honey. After most of the 
honey had been drained from the comb, the residue, 
partly honey and partly wax, was put into a vessel and 
covered with water ; after a few days it fermented and 
became quite intoxicating. It was an imitation of the 
ancient "mead." 

Shingle Making. 

When the first houses were built in the backwoods, 
the settlers could not afford the time to make shingles. 
The practice was to cover the roofs of their houses with 
bark or hollowed basswood logs, fitted one over the 
other in tile fashion. The first shingles used were very 


long (three feet) and very heavy, being split out of cedar, 
pine, ash, or oak blocks by the frow (sometimes the 
axe), but were not shaved. They served the double 
purpose of shingles and sheeting. There being but few 
and far between sawmills, lumber was not to be easily 
had for placing on the pole rafters. Long pieces of split 
cedar, three or four inches wide, placed a foot or two 
apart, were put up lengthwise with the house across the 
rafters. The shingles were fastened on these by wooden 
pins, each row being lapped over the one preceding it. 
It is true, also, that even after the people commenced to 
use the short (eighteen-inch and less) shingles they did 
not always use sheeting. Strips of lath, three or four 
inches apart, were laid across the rafters, to which -the 
shingles were nailed. This was thought to preserve the 
shingles, as it allowed the air to circulate underneath the 
roof and kept the shingles dry. The shingles in use now, 
when they first came out were not sawn, but were 
rived out of blocks of cedar or pine. The instrument 
used was the frow. The blocks cut the required length 
were split by the frow into thin pieces of board which 
were afterwards shaved smooth and thin and shaped by 
the drawing knife. 

Flax Culture. 

Onehundred yearsagothe cotton industry in the South- 
ern States was only in its infancy, the introduction of the 
spinning jenny and of machinery for cleaning the cotton 


wool and for weaving it into cloth having since caused 
it to grow to enormous proportions, and has resulted in 
the reduction of the price of cotton cloth to a very low 
price, within the reach of the poorest. The cost of linen 
goods in the early days was beyond the ability of the 
people of small means to purchase, so they were com- 
pelled to raise flax and make their own linen cloth. 
The making of the flax into linen cloth was quite an 
interesting and intricate process. To get the flax ready 
for the weaver required a good deal of preparation. 
When the plant had reached its growth it had to be care- 
fully pulled by hand and tied into small sheaves. These 
were set up to dry and for the seeds to fully ripen and 
harden. Then one of the sheaves would be held in the 
left hand and with a heavy stick the seed balls would 
be beaten till all the seeds would drop. Perhaps about 
the last of September the flax would be spread in thin 
layers on sod or wheat fields. The object of this was to 
cure the flax, i.e., to partially rot the pith, after which 
the fibre would readily come off. As soon as the flax 
was cured, on some fine day when it was quite dry, it 
would be taken and put away for winter. The next 
step was to use what was called a " breake." This con- 
sisted of two sets of long wooden knives, probably four 
or five feet long. These knives were fastened into 
wooden blocks and the lower set set upon legs. The 
upper set of knives was placed upon the lower set, each 


knife fitting in between two of the knives of its com- 
panion. The two were carefully hinged together by a 
wooden pin at the back. There was also a wooden rod 
on the top of the upper set about as long as the knives. 
This preparation was for the " breaking " of the flax. 
The operator would take a bunch of the flax in his left 
hand, lift the upper part of the breake with his right 
hand and bring it down with a good deal of force on the 
bunch which he held in his left hand. It required some 
minutes of pounding to break up the pith inside the 
fibre of the flax, and it was none of the easiest kind of 
work. Often it was done out of doors and a large fire 
would be kept up near the large bundles of flax. The 
next step in the process of preparation was the *swingle 
board. The swingle board was about four feet long, 
placed upright and nailed at the bottom to a heavy 
wooden block. The top was in the shape of a hand with 
the index finger extended and the others closed. The 
top end was sharpened. Upon this sharpened end a 
bunch of the broken flax was placed and held by the left 
hand, and with the right hand the operator would dress 
the flax with a long wooden sword sharpened on both 
sides. The steady, well-directed strokes of the sword 
removed the " shives " or loose pith. To do this 
meant work, besides being very unhealthy on account of 

*The swingle board was called by some the scutching machine and 
the sword used the scutching knife. 


the dust. The last step to prepare the flax for spinning 
was the drawing it through what was called a hackle or 
flax comb (Ger., hechel). This consisted of a board 
about eight inches long by four inches wide, full of rows 
of long steel spikes. Bunches of flax were drawn 
through this comb, which removed all the coarse fibres ; 
what was left was soft and silky and was made into 
cloth for the finer linen goods. 

The coarse fibre was called tow and was used for 
various purposes. Ropes and coarse cloth for grain bags 
and men's working pants were made out of it. 

The linen cloth after it came from the weaver was 
spread on the grass and sprinkled with water a number 
of times each day for several weeks, to shrink and 
bleach it. 

The home-made linen cloth was very hard and stiff 
and after being washed, before rinsing, it was generally 
folded together, placed over a block and pounded with a 
stick to soften up the goods. The father and mother of 
the writer have occasion to remember such work. 

Tanning Leather. 

The Indian mode of tanning was to take the ashes 
left from the camp fire, and make a solution of them in 
water. The skins were placed in this solution and left 
for about three weeks, when the hair and bits of flesh 
adhering would readily come off, leaving nothing but 



the clear skin or " raw hide," as it was called. This was 
then worked with the hands or rubbed with sticks to 
make it soft and pliable, when it was ready to be tanned. 
This was done by putting it in a solution of hemlock or 
oak bark, and leaving it in this solution for about three 
months until all the oil and fatty matter was exhausted. 
After this it was again rubbed and worked with the 
hands to further soften it up. This method of tanning 
is not nearly so injurious to the skin as the modern 
method in which chemicals of various kinds are used. 

The Indian mode of tanning was adopted by some of 
the early settlers, who were compelled to do their own 
tanning. They had a tanning-tub or a^trough hollowed 
out of a log of wood for soaking the skin in. Later on, 
every neighborhood had its tanner, who did the tanning 
for the farmers. This kind of work, like many others, 
was usually done on shares the tanner keeping part of 
the hide for his work and returning the balance to the 




LL the farm implements in the early days 
were made by hand, the wooden part 
being made by the farmer himself, and 
the iron part by the wayside black- 
smith, although some of the farmers had forges of 
their own and were ingenious enough to do their own 
blacksmithing. The implements used by the pioneers 
were few and simple compared with those used by the 
farmers of the present day. The chief farming imple- 
ments were the plough, harrow, cradle, sickle, rake, 
scythe and roller. 

Many improvements have been made in the plough 
of recent years. The first plough was made of wood 
(usually a piece of bent oak), and covered with iron. 
Some very rude ones were made out of a natural crook, 
as the root of a tree ; others had wooden mould boards 
and iron points. 

The first harrow used in the backwoods clearings was 


the " three-cornered drag," a V-shaped framework of 
wood, with cross-pieces and fitted with iron teeth. It 
was often made out of the crotch of a tree, holes being 
bored for the iron teeth.* This kind of harrow was 
particularly well adapted for working up the soil in the 
stumpy ground, as, on account of its shape, it did not 
catch on to the stumps so easily as the square harrow. 

The " brush " or " bush " harrow, made of a bunch of 
brushwood, was sometimes made to answer the purpose 
of a harrow in the loose soil of the new ground, which 
very often did not require any ploughing at all the first 
time cropped. In the cleared ground, the square 
harrows, made of wood with iron teeth, were used. 
These were afterwards made in two parts and hinged 
together. This kind of harrow has been almost entirely 
superseded by the harrow made of steel. 

The only kind of rake was the wooden hand-rake ; 
later on, the wooden lift-rake, and the wooden dump- 
rake, drawn by a horse, came into existence. The 
farmer walked behind and held the handles until 
sufficient hay had been collected, when he would lift 
or dump it in rows. These rakes were followed by the 
sulky-rake now in use. 

For levelling off the lumpy ground the farmer had a 
roller, made out of a heavy log of wood, with a tongue 
attached to it, to hitch the horses to. 

Sometimes the teeth were made of hardwood. 


The minor farm implements were the long-handled 
shovel and spade and the pitchfork, the hoe and 
garden rake, all very heavy and clumsily made of iron, 
while nowadays such implements are made of steel, and 
consequently much lighter and better finished. There 
were wooden forks for pitching straw. The manure 
forks were generally made with broad tines and very 

The old farm wagon had wooden axles* with a strip 
of iron above and below, to prevent the wood from 
wearing away. They were greased with tar, made from 
the pitch got from the pine trees, and mixed with lard 
in the winter time, to prevent it from becoming too 
thick. The tar was kept for the purpose in a special 
bucket, which was hung underneath the back of the 
wagon when on a long journey. 

The wheels of the old " lumber " wagon were kept in 
place by linch-pins, which were dropped through a hole 
in the end of the axle, but as they did not secure the 
wheel very tightly when the wagon was in motion, they 
made a rattling noise, which could be heard for quite a 
distance away. There being no iron wagon springs, 
the seat was perched on the end of two poles with the 
ends fastened in the wagon box. This " spring-pole " 
wagon-seat, although high up in the air, was the most 
comfortable one known. 

* Made of maple wood. 


The Sickle and Reaping Hook. 

In the early days of the country all the grain was cut 
by means of the sickle,* a curved knife a couple of feet 
long, with indented teeth. This was the only kind of har- 
vest instrument the farmer had for years for cutting 
grain, the cradle being then unknown. To cut a field of 
grain with it must have been a slow and tedious as well 
as a very tiring process. With all hands on the farm to 
help, however, both male and female, the harvesting was 
soon accomplished. It is interesting to hear some of the 
old folks tell how first the grain was sown, cut, threshed 
and got ready for the mill. It was frequently planted 
in the stumpy ground with a hoe or rake. When ripe 
it was cut with the sickle, bound in sheaves, and taken 
on the jumper-f- to the threshing-floor, which was often 
no better than a big flat stone, sometimes a floor of 
boards, and sometimes even the bare ground, tramped 
hard and smooth, where, by means of the flail, or " pov- 
erty-stick " (two pieces of hardwood united by leather), 
the heads were pounded until the grain was all threshed 
out. It was then " winnowed," or cleaned, by pouring 

* Although the sickle and reaping-hook were practically the same 
thing, there was a slight difference between them. The sickle was the 
older of the two, and had a serrated or indented edge, which did not 
require to be sharpened. The reaping-hook had a sharp edge and had 
to be sharpened like a scythe. 

t The jumper was a rough, home-made, one-horse sleigh, whose 
shafts were a continuation of the pole runners. 


from one vessel to another in the wind, until it 
was free of the chaff, after which several bags were 
put across a horse's back and sent to the mill often 
fourteen or fifteen miles or more distant to be ground 
into flour, the farmer having to wait patiently his turn 
for this to be done, and which sometimes kept him from 
home for several days together. It was not an uncom- 
mon thing for some of the old settlers who had no horses 
to have to carry the bags of wheat to the mill on their 
backs for long distances of fifteen or twenty miles. The 
first mills were situated on some stream or creek, where 
water-power could be obtained, as there were, of course, 
no steam mills then in the country. These water-power 
mills were scarce, even, people sometimes going forty 
and fifty miles to get their grists ground.* Hand mills 
for grinding wheat were furnished by the Govern- 
ment to the U. E. Loyalists, and those who did 
not have these hand-mills would burn a hole in the top 
of a white oak stump ; into this hollow, when well 
scraped out, they would place the wheat or corn and 
grind it into a coarse meal with a pestle made out of a 
piece of hard wood. This was probably in imitation of 
the Indian method of grinding their corn in stone cups or 
bowls. To facilitate the operation the pestle was some- 

* It is said the people sometimes came from the Long Point country 
to Street's Mill at the Falls, a distance of 75 or 85 miles, to get their 
grists ground. 


times fastened to the end of a spring pole extended over 
a forked stick stuck in the ground. The first crop of 
the settlers usually consisted of a field of wheat and 
peas, with a small patch of potatoes, pumpkins and 

Sowing the Grain. 

Formerly the farmer in sowing his grain had a sack* 
tied around his body and as he walked over the ground 
he scattered the seed with a sweep of his hand. With 
measured step he strode forward and did his work care- 
fully and manfully. This method of sowing grain was 
common for centuries. Our Saviour speaks of it in His 
parable of the sower. Since the seed drills were intro- 
duced, forty or fifty years ago, the old-fashioned way 
of sowing has gradually been discarded, until now there 
is scarcely a farm that is not equipped with a seed drill. 

Cradling Grain. 

Following the sickle came the cradle, which consisted 
of a framework or " rigging " of wood for gathering 
the grain together as it was being cut, fixed to the 
scythe, an instrument which previous to this time had 
only been used for cutting grass. The farmer, with a 
sweeping stroke of his brawny arms, would cut down a 
" swath " of from four to six feet in width. The binders 

* Some farmers used a box instead of a bag and sowed with both 


(men and women) would follow with their rakes and, 
after raking enough together for a sheaf, would twist a 
handful of the stalks into a strand and bind up the 
bundle. An expert cradler could cut as much as three 
or four acres of good standing grain in a day, about as 
much as three or four men could bind. After the grain 
had been bound it was gathered together and stood on 
end, two sheaves in a pair, in " stooks " or " shocks " of 
ten or twelve sheaves, to dry. 

The Reaping Machine. 

The cradle was superseded by the reaping machine, 
which has been the subject of many improvements up 
to the present time, since its introduction in 1831, when 
a man walked behind and raked the grain off the table 
as it was being cut. In 1845 a seat was made for this 
man at the rear of the machine, and in 1863 a self- 
raking attachment was added, until now we have 
machines which not only cut the grain but also bind it 
into sheaves as well. The advent of the reaping machine 
is a striking illustration of the truth of the old saying, 
" Necessity is the mother of invention." The inventor, 
who lived in the Western States, saw the need of a 
machine that would cut the grain in the big fields of 
the western country just opening up to settlement more 
rapidly than it could be done by the old methods. This 
idea of saving labor has been carried out with all kinds 


of work, until now there is scarcely any department of 
labor in which machinery does not do the bulk of 
the work. 

Sheep Washing and Shearing. 
In the spring of the year, generally the last of May 
or the first of June, the sheep were driven into an en- 
closure beside some stream, and one by one taken by 
the farmer and his men and washed in the stream, so as 
to get their wool clean and white. After a day or two 
of drying the sheep were shorn of their fleeces. The 
wool was then picked over by the women and girls, to 
get out any burs or lumps of dirt that might have 
adhered to it, "picking" bees being frequently made 
for this purpose. After the picking, in order to make 
the wool soft and pliable, it was spread out on the 
floor and greased by sprinkling melted lard over it and 
next whipped with a rod, after which it was bundled up 
in big woollen blankets, pinned together with a thorn 
from a hawthorn bush and sent away to the carding 
mill to be carded into rolls for spinning. Many of the 
farmers, when carding mills were not convenient, did 
their own carding with the old-fashioned hand cards. 
If the farmer had a large number of sheep he would 
often make a bee for the washing and the shearing. 
If the sheep were afflicted with " tick " or vermin a 
solution of tobacco leaves was made and applied to the 

skin of the sheep. 


A flock of sheep after being sheared were and are 
quite a lean and awkward-looking sight; pitiable, 
shivering, starving-looking creatures, seeming different 
animals altogether from the well-wooled sheep that 
gave good promise of fat mutton. 

NOTE. Nowadays many farmers do not pay much attention to 
sheep raising ; they buy their clothing from the merchant and the 
butcher makes his rounds through the country and supplies them 
with fresh meat, but in our grandfather's time they were obliged to 
keep a good-sized flock of sheep. The wool of the sheep they made 
into clothing, and when fresh meat was required for family use and 
for the threshings, etc., the flock was robbed of one of its most 
promising-looking members. Years ago there was no market in the 
towns and villages for mutton and other meats. What the farmer 
raised he raised for his own use principally, as there was no foreign 
market as there is now. 


FARM WORK (Continued). 


HE " threshings " are in many respects much 
the same now as they have been for years 
back, yet in the last one hundred years they 
have undergone a complete transformation. 
The early settlers threshed most of their grain with 
the flail. Sometimes, with certain kinds of grain, such 
as oats and peas, they would cover the barn floor with 
the sheaves or stalks and drive the horses and cattle 
over it until the grain was all tramped out. We can 
imagine now we hear the thud, thud, thud of the flail 
on the threshing floor, as the farmer bent to his work. 
Now and again he stopped to wipe the coursing per- 
spiration from his brow, or to examine the heads of 
the wheat-stalks, to see whether or not they were 
threshed clean. The first threshing-machine did not 
come out until about seventy-five years ago, and it 
was a small affair, with a narrow cylinder, fitted with 
iron spikes, the rapid revolution of which, as the grain 
passed through between these spikes and the spikes 


in a half cylinder or concave, shook out the. grains of 
wheat. There being no separators (screens or sieves} 
for separating the grain from the chaff, or carriers for 
conveying away the straw, everything went out' in a 
heap at the rear of the machine. The straw was raked, 
shaken and pitched away, leaving the grain and chaff on 
the floor. It gave considerable work to the men and 
boys with the f anning-mill to separate the grain from the 
chaff, for it had to be put through the mill at least twice. 
Nowadays it usually comes out of the threshing- 
machine cleaned and ready for market. 

It required at least eight men to operate one of the 
old threshing-machines one man to drive the horses, 
one man to cut the bands of the sheaves, one to feed, one 
to take away the straw and to pass it on to three or 
four more men, who pitched it into the mow or on to the 
straw-stack in the yard. With all this work the first 
machines could not thresh more than fifty or seventy -five 
bushels a day, while now they can thresh as many 
bushels in an hour. What a mighty difference to the 
farmer, in time and labor saving. 

The " horse-power " stood in the yard at some distance, 
and was connected with the threshing-machine by a belt 
and a tumbling rod or shaft, which kept the machine in 
motion. The driver stood (sometimes sat) on a table or 
platform in the centre of the horse-power and flourished 
his long-lashed whip in the air as he touched up the 






lagging horses of the four or five teams hitched to the 
power. Scarcely anything could be heard above the buzz 
of the machinery but the crack of the driver's whip and 
his strident voice as in stentorian tones he called out to 
the horses, " G'ap there," " Go on," " Get up there, Bill," 
" G'long," " Whoa." 

One kind of the primitive threshing-machines was oper- 
ated by tread-mills, the horses having to walk on rollers. 
At the present day the horse-power has been almost 
entirely done away with, the steam thresher (happily 
for the farmer) having taken its place. 

The Logging Bee. 

All the men in the neighborhood were invited to the 
logging bee. The oxen, with a big chain dragging 
behind them, could be seen coming from different direc- 
tions along the side-roads and concessions, and as many 
as a dozen yoke of oxen at a time might sometimes be 
seen at a " logging." The farmer would prepare the 
iron-wood handspikes a day or so beforehand. There 
was always a jug of whiskey ready for the occasion. 
A logging bee without whiskey would be considered a 
dry affair indeed. After placing the chain around the 
end of one of the big logs the driver would crack his 
whip and the log would begin to move and be "snaked," 
or dragged in a serpentine direction between the stumps 
and piles until it reached the spot where it was to be 


deposited. The " Gee ! " " Haw ! " " Buck ! " " Bright ! " 
of the driver, as he encouraged and urged on his oxen, 
could be heard distinctly resounding through the clear- 
ing. Besides the driver of the oxen there were always 
three or four more men, with handspikes in their hands, 
ready to lift the logs on top of each other. After all 
had inserted their handspikes in different places along 
the log, someone would call out, " Ready, boys ! " and the 
log would be raised from its place on the ground, and 
with considerable grunting and straining, and " Now, 
boys ! " and " Yo-he ! " " Yo- he-heave ! " in concert from 
the men, and an extra effort, the log was finally placed 
on top of the pile. Skidways made of heavy poles were 
placed against the lower logs for running the topmost 
logs on the pile. Some of these log-heaps were three or 
four logs high, and sometimes as many as seven or 
eight. A rough piece of land at night, after the log- 
ging was over, would look almost as neat and tidy as a 
barn floor, after it had been swept and cleaned. After 
a day's work among a lot of dirty black logs the men 
looked more like a lot of negroes from the south than 
free-born Canadian citizens. The sight of the burning 
log heaps here and there, at night, looked quite pic- 
turesque and weird, and reminded one of the picture of 
hades in Dante's " Inferno." In the early autumn even- 
ings the boys would gather around these log-heaps, roast 
ears of green corn, tell stories and crack jokes. In the 


evening, after the wind-up of the logging, amongst 
certain classes of people, there would be a spree and a 
dance lasting till three or four o'clock in the morning. 
Night after night the farmer could be seen going around 
the log-heaps, poking up the fires, throwing chunks 
together, for strange to say, the log-heaps burned best 
at night. 

When there was a big field to be logged, to create 
rivalry and get through with the work quickly, the 
logging bee took the form of a race, with a jug of 
whiskey of a new yoke as a prize. The field was 
staked out in lots, so many rods wide, with a yoke of 
oxen and a gang of four men to each lot. Great excite- 
ment prevailed as the different gangs strove to get 
through with their part of the work first. As the work 
went on, the " Grog Boss " with his jug could be seen 
moving around among the different gangs of men, deal- 
ing out to them their several allowances of whiskey. 

The Raising Bee. 

The " raising " was quite an important event in the 
neighborhood and for miles around. The people liked 
the excitement of such an occasion. If the barn or house 
was of any size, a large number of men (perhaps fifty 
or one hundred) would have to be invited to take part. 
The housewife would be kept more than fully occupied 
for days beforehand getting provisions ready of all 


kinds to feast the visitors and helpers. And in the 
olden time it jwas never forgotten to supply plenty of 
good Canadian whiskey, as was then the universal 
custom. This latter custom has, by degrees, been dropped, 
tea, coffee, and temperance beverages having taken the 
place of the once all-popular mountain dew.* The first 
raising bees, no doubt, originated with the raising of the 
old log-houses and barns. If a new settler came into 
the neighborhood, the other settlers would gather and 
help him to build his house. After a number of trees 
had been felled and cut up into lengths they were drawn 
together by oxen and rolled up by the men on " skids " 
or heavy poles to their place in the walls of the house 
until the house was of the required height, a man sta- 
tioned at the corners (the " corner man ") making a 
notch or saddle in the log, so that it would fit over the 
log underneath it, hewed into a triangular shape at the 
end, to receive it. For the most part the logs were left 
projecting a foot or two at the corners and afterwards 
they were cut off, which added to the appearance of the 
building. After a few years of life in these early log 
cabins the settlers would build larger and better dwel- 
lings. The first frame houses were built of heavy 
timber ; when the balloon frame houses, made of scant- 
ling, first came into use the people laughed at them, for 

* It is said that in some instances it was impossible to get sufficient 
men to come to a raising unless whiskey was promised. 


they imagined they would blow down. It is true they 
are not as substantial as the old-fashioned " frame " 
houses. When a farmer decided on building, say a 
large barn, he would -engage a carpenter, who had 
experience in that line, and who would go out into the 
farmer's woods and commence operations by preparing 
the timbers for the frame. Pine was preferred, but if it 
was scarce with the farmer, other suitable woods, such as 
oak, elm, tamarac, hemlock, etc., were used. The trees, 
which had previously been felled and cut into required 
lengths, were placed on blocks which raised them up 
from the ground several feet, so that they could the 
more easily be gotten into shape. The first part of the 
work consisted in " scoring " the log. After a portion of 
the bark had been removed from one side, a chalk line 
was drawn along the log, after which it was chopped 
into as far as this line every few inches. The wood 
which had been loosened by the scoring was then hewed 
off by the broad axe. After the four sides of the log 
had been treated in this manner, with the exception of 
the timbers used for the sleepers of the house or barn, 
which only required hewing on one or two sides, the 
timbers were removed to the site of the future build- 
ing and hewed into more perfect squares, with mor- 
tise and tenant, so that they would be ready to 
fit into each other when raising day came. 

Pike-poles, ten or fifteen feet long, with sharpened 


pieces of iron fitted into the end, were got ready for the 
men who were to take part in the raising. On raising 
day, after heavy timbers or sills had been placed on 
posts fixed in the ground, or on foundations of stone- 
mason work, the sleepers were placed across and all was 
ready for the raising. The frame consisted of what was 
called "bents," one at each end, and two or more in 
between, according to the length of the building. These 
bents consisted of two upright timbers or posts and one 
or two cross-beams, according to the height required. 
They were framed and laid together on the foundation 
timbers and raised in rotation. A man was stationed 
with a bar in his hand at the hole mortised in the 
foundation timber for receiving the upright post, and as 
the bent was raised, he saw that the post went into the 
socket made for it. The master-builder directed affairs, 
attention being given to everything he said, none of the 
other men uttering a word, and with pike-poles in the 
hands of the men on one side to raise and on the other 
side to steady, the heavy timbers were lifted into place. 
The man who did the calling off' was usually a man of 
powerful voice and he could be heard half a mile away, 
as he called out, " Now, boys," " Altogether, now," 
" Lift," " Yo-heave, " Steady." throwing up his arms as 
he called out. After the first bent had been raised it was 
stayed or braced with boards until united by "girts" 
to the other bents. After the bents had all been raised, 


two " plates," one on each side of the barn, for receiving 
the rafters, were placed on top of the posts. After that 
the " purloin " plates, for giving support to the roof, were 
placed on top of short posts, which stood on the cross- 
beams. Last of all, the rafters, made of poles hewed on 
one side, were run up and put in position, when the 
frame was ready for the siding and the sheeting. No 
iron was used in the framing, the timbers being fastened 
with wooden pins, big wooden " commanders," or mal- 
lets, being used for driving the pins into their places. 
The raising was often a dangerous job, and for that 
reason everything had to be done with care and caution. 
Sometimes there would be a hitch, and occasionally men 
would lose their lives at these bees. If everything had 
been properly arranged and the timbers numbered, etc., 
the raising could all be done in two or three hours' time. 
In order to get up an interest and have the job finished 
in a hurry, very frequently captains were appointed and 
sides chosen, the right of first choice of men and of 
location being obtained by the tossing up of a coin, or a 
piece of bark marked on both sides, and a guess being 
made as to which side would turn up, as black or white, 
wet or dry, head or tail. The race usually began at the 
putting up of the plates and rafters, although in some 
instances they raced from the start, each gang of men 
working at different ends of the building. The race was 
to see who could get their part of the work done first. 


The winning bide would always raise a lusty cheer over 
their success. With the hooting and shouting that 
sometimes took place when the race was going on, the 
excitement was intense and began at the very commence- 
ment and continued with increasing intensity until the 
last rafter was in place. Men sometimes lost their heads 
at these bees in their anxiety to get ahead of 
the opposite side, and ill consequences were the result. 
A friend mentioned to the writer that he once saw a 
man by mistake, of course saw off the log on which he 
was sitting,. in his haste to overcome his antagonists on 
the other side. . Some of the men who were accustomed 
to such jobs would climb over the beams and plates, as 
lively as a lot of squirrels, and oftentimes the captain 
would ride the cross-beam of the bent as it was being 
raised. Those on the winning side were given the 
privilege of going to supper first. Usually in the even- 
ing, after the raising was over, there would be a dance 
on the floor of the newly-raised barn. 

Maple Sugar Making Time. 

During the latter part of February and the first of 
March vegetation begins to awaken from its long rest, 
and again prepares to put on its mantle of green. The 
sap commences to flow back from the roots of the trees 
to the branches. It is aided in this by the heat and 
light of the sun, for the flow is generally greatest in the 

Some Old'Time Articles. 


daytime, and particularly so on a mild, sunny day 
following a frosty night. The early settlers took advan- 
tage of this passing up of the sap to obtain their year's 
supply of maple sugar. Often it was the only kind they 
could obtain. Maple sugar making time was to them 
one of the busiest and most romantic seasons of the year, 
and during this season they spent considerable of their 
time in the " sugar bush." The sap was boiled down in 
big iron kettles, three or four kettles being required for 
one boiling. The sap in the first kettle, after it had 
been evaporated down to a syrupy consistence, was poured 
into the second, and so on, to make room for a fresh 
supply of sap.* Sitting on logs out in the woods beside 
the boiling kettles, the watchers had often a weary wait 
until into the night for the time to " sugar off." There 
was nothing to break the stillness but, perhaps, the hoot- 
ing of the owls in the pines or the dreaded howling of 
the wolves in the distance. 

The children always looked forward to this season of 
the year with pleasure, for they knew they could then 
get their full of nature's delicious nectar without money 
and without price. It frequently brought the young 
folks together in gatherings called "taffy pulls." Fol- 
lowing closely on St. Valentine's Day, when the birds 
are supposed to mate and when Cupid's darts go straight 

* A piece of fat pork was often thrown in to prevent the syrup 
from boiling over. 


to the mark, many matches were the result of these 
happy gatherings of the young people. Just before the 
boiling liquid reached the point when the sugaring off 
was done, a portion of it was taken out of the kettle and 
spread on the snow or a piece of ice, when it would har- 
den into taffy, clear as crystal and with a flavor like 
nectar, fit for the gods. After the sap had been boiled 
down to a syrupy consistence, a portion of it was removed 
for use as molasses. And how the old folks, as well as 
the young, did enjoy this maple syrup along with their 
' buckwheat pancakes " and " griddle cakes ! " 

The sugar was moulded into cakes of various sizes and 
shapes, from the big loaf weighing ten or fifteen pounds 
down to the little cakes made in the crinkled patty-pans 
for the children.* 

Speaking of sugar making time recalls to mind an old 
song that was sung years ago, with a chorus something 
as follows : 

" Oh ! it's bubble, bubble, bubble, bubble, bubble goes the pan, 
Furnish better music for the season if you can ; 
See the golden billows, watch their ebb and flow, 
Oh ! is not it the jolliest fun the sugar makers know ? " 

The gathering of the sap was, perhaps, the most ardu- 
ous part of the work. Holes had to be bored into the 
trees with an auger, and into these wooden spouts, or 

* The tins were first greased to prevent the sugar from sticking 
fast to them. 


" spiles," for running off the sap were inserted. In early 
pioneer times a slanting notch was made in 'the tree 
with a hatchet ; beneath this notch was made a hole 
with a semi-circular iron gouge, the spiles which were 
driven into these holes being split out of a block of pine 
or cedar wood with the same instrument. Troughs, 
hollowed out of short lengths of basswood, pine or ash 
logs, were placed at the base of the tree to catch the sap. 
Later on, wooden pails, made for the purpose, oftentimes 
by the farmer himself if he had any notion for cooper- 
ing, took the place of these troughs. When the sap 
troughs or "buckets" became full, the sap was collected 
and poured into barrels or into big wooden troughs hol- 
lowed out of a log of wood. With a wooden yoke placed 
over his shoulders and a pail attached to a rope at each 
end, one of the men helpers would go around among the 
trees gathering the sap. Sometimes a horse and sleigh, 
or jumper (home-made sleigh), with a barrel on, was 
driven around through the woods to collect the sap, for 
the snow used to generally lie deep in the woods in those 

Maple sugar making is still quite an industry at the 
present day, but in the modern " sugar camp " things 
are much more convenient than formerly. In the early 
days a rough shed, open on one side and covered with 
brush and boughs, was made out in the woods to shelter 
the watchers, and there they sat and watched when the 


weather was cold and rough. Nowadays an arch of 
brick is built ; on this is placed an evaporating pan, and 
over all is built a shed, which not only protects the sugar 
makers from the inclemency of the weather, but also 
prevents the dead leaves and twigs from getting into 
the kettle. There are many other additional conveni- 
ences as well, which make the making of sugar much 
easier at the present day than formerly. 

Of the many different species of maple there is only 
one species from which sugar can be obtained. It is com- 
monly known as the sugar, rock, or hard maple. The 
average yield of a healthy sugar tree would be about a 
gallon of syrup in a season. A gallon of syrup makes 
seven pounds of sugar, although, if the syrup be very 
thick, it may make as much as ten pounds. Two pails 
of sap is supposed to make a pound of sugar, although 
the strength of the sap varies according to the season 
and the locality. It is well understood that the earliest 
sap which rises is the strongest and makes the lightest 
colored sugar and the sweetest and nicest flavored 
molasses. Before the sugar became hard it was some- 
times stirred with a stick. This crumbled it up so that 
it resembled the light brown muscovada sugar of com- 
merce, which it was often made to take the place of. 
The sap which is obtained just before the buds on the 
trees are about to burst is often made into vinegar. 




IFE, to a large extent, was co-operative in 
the early days ; the people helped one 
another. It would, indeed, have been 
very dull in the backwoods and remote 
countrjr places if it had not been for their frequent 
social gatherings. Work and play were combined. 
One of the chief gatherings of this kind was the 
paring bee. In the fall of the year, in order to get 
his apples pared and cored for drying and making 
apple-sauce, and to prevent them from spoiling, the 
farmer would invite his neighbors, young and old, to 
his house to assist him. After a sufficient quantity of 
apples had been prepared, the guests were regaled with 
a plentiful luncheon of cake, pie, cider, etc., and then, 
if there was time, the young folks would spend an hour 
or so in games of various sorts, and perhaps a dance. 

It was the regular thing to see a big burly young fellow 
dutifully assisting Peggy, or Sarah Jane, or Sally Ann, or 

Polly, in paring a lapful of apples sitting as close to her 
13 193 


as possible, or we can, in our mind's eye, see some hand- 
some girl throwing a length of apple parings over some 
bashful Tom or Dick, and laugh to see him blush in con- 
fusion at the compliment. Considerable amusement was 
got by carefully paring an apple so that the peeling would 
come off in one longpiece, then, holding one end of it in the 
hand and twirling it around the head, when it was let fall 
on the floor. The letter of the alphabet which it resem- 
bled, as it lay on the floor, was supposed to be the initial 
of the name of the future husband or wife of the party 
paring it. At first the paring was all done by hand, but, 
later on, machines were introduced, which considerably 
shortened the process of paring and coring. 

The Quilting Bee. 

A number of the ladies, both married and single, 
would gather at a friend's house where the bee was to 
be held, mostly early in the afternoon, to do the quilt- 
ing. The husbands and young men were invited to tea, 
after which the time was spent in social conversation and 
popular diversions, the young folks engaging in the 
various games and amusements which were then the 
fashion in those times. Cupid was just as busy and 
active with his bow and quiver as he is now and has 
ever and always been, and the young men were not one 
whit behind the young men of to-day in paying their 
devoirs to the pretty girls of the company. The so- 


called kissing games were quite popular, as might be 
expected. Ic was the custom at these bees for the girls 
to throw the quilt when finished over one of the young 
men and laugh to see him extricate himself from its 
folds. Sometimes they would succeed in getting one of 
the party enveloped in the quilt, when, with strong 
hands at each corner, they would toss them high in the 
air. This added greatly to the mirth and jollification 
of the occasion. 

The Husking Bee. 

Husking bees were quite common among the farmers 
in the early days. In the fall of the year, after the 
corn had been stripped off of the stalks in the field, it 
was loaded on to a waggon, drawn into the barn and 
piled up on one side of the big barn floor. The men, 
women, boys and girls in the neighborhood who had 
been invited to the " husking " would assemble about 
six or seven o'clock, and spend the evening in stripping 
the husks off of the ears of corn. The ears, after being 
husked, were thrown into piles on the opposite side of 
the barn floor, the husks being placed in front of th& 
huskers and removed from time to time as they 
accumulated. The old-fashioned tin lanterns, with 
candles inside, were hung around the barn to furnish 
light. These gatherings would break up about ten 
o'clock, after which all han'ds would adjourn to the 


house to partake of refreshments provided by the 
hostess before going home. Sometimes the remainder 
of the evening was spent in playing games and in 

Butchering Day, or "The Killing." 

Butchering day was quite an important and busy 
day in the early times of our pioneer grandfathers. 
The farmer generally arranged to complete the job in 
one day. From the killing of the six or eight pigs and 
the " beef," to the making of the sausages, all had to be 
completed without rest or adjournment. All hands on 
the farm took part in the work men, women and 
children. If the farmer did not have sufficient help of 
his own, he could always depend upon getting the 
necessary assistance from his neighbors. Some handy 
man in the neighborhood who had a special " knack " 
for butchering, was usually engaged to act as " chief 
factotum." The farmer would rise early in the morning 
and put the large kettles of water on the fire out in the 
backyard, and with his smock coat buttoned around 
him and, perhaps, his pipe in his mouth, would get the 
knives sharpened for the butchering. 

The first part of the work was to catch the pigs. 
The farmer would enter the pig-sty, catch one of the 
animals by the legs* and drag it out of the pen, and 

' Other devices were sometimes made use of. 


the pig would be held down while the chief butcher 
plunged his ready knife into the animal's neck, which 
soon finished the poor hog. The carcase was then 
removed to a raised platform, against which leaned 
a barrel filled with hot water, into which it was 
plunged and allowed to remain for a few minutes, or 
until the bristles became so loose that they could be 
easily scraped off.* After the hair had all been removed 
the carcase was hung up by the gambrel, a stick 
which was run through between the cords of the hind 
legs, to a bar at the top of a post, or to a tree, washed 
and wiped off with a cloth, a slit or opening made 
the whole length of the body, and the entrails removed 
and taken to the house, where the women help would 
turn them inside out and clean them, so that they might 
be ready for the sausage-making. The women were 
very careful in removing all the fat adhering and ren- 
dering it into lard ; the liver was cooked and made into 
" liver-wurst," and the meat around the bones of the 
head and feet chopped fine and made into " head-cheese." 
The operation we have been describing was gone 
through successively until all the carcases were seen 
dangling from the posts in the yard, forming a far 
from unpleasing sight for the farmer. The fatted steer 
or cow was next brought around and held fast while a 

* A handful of hardwood ashes was sometimes added to help looser 
the bristles. 


swinging blow of the axe on the forehead, wielded by 
one of the strongest and most expert of the men, would 
bring the animal down on its haunches, when the knife 
in the hands of the butcher on the watch was immedi- 
ately plunged into its neck. After the stream of blood 
had ceased to flow the carcase was hung up, the hide re- 
moved* and the entrails taken out, after which the beef 
was allowed to hang for a few hours before being quar- 
tered and put away.-f- In the afternoon the carcases of 
the hogs were taken down one by one, placed on the 
table and cut up. In the evening the men and women 
helpers would finish the job, which consisted in grinding 
the meat for sausages and stuffing it into the " caseing." 
This part of the work took considerable time, and it 
was generally two or three o'clock in the morning 
'before they got through, after which there was usually 
a meal of sausage served before retiring. 

* Small, sharpened, wedge-shaped stones or pieces of hardwood were 
sometimes used instead -of knives for removing the hide. 

f Packed in tubs or casks with a plentiful supply of salt between 
each layer. 

Fireplace with Old Utensils Niagara Historical Society. 




N the fall of the year, when the corn was 
beginning to harden in the ear, the 
raccoons, which usually inhabited the 
hollow trees and logs in the woods and 
swamps, would make frequent raids on the corn 
patch, and if not stopped would destroy large quantities 
of corn. In order to prevent these depredations the 
farmers and farmers' sons would organize into bands, 
and on a clear frosty night in October, with their dogs 
trained for 'the purpose, and, armed with old guns, 
would go out to the corn fields. They would quietly 
remain on the outskirts of the field with their dogs 
until they heard the cry or whistle of the coons in the 
field, or the noise they made as they broke off' the ears 
of corn, when the dogs, which had been waiting impa- 
tiently for the fray, were allowed to plunge into the corn 
patch after the coons. The men would follow with 


their guns and sticks, and as the coons and dogs 
attacked each other, they would strike and kill the 
coons with their sticks and clubs. If the coons were 
" treed," i.e., obliged to flee and climb into a tree for 
shelter, the men and boys would remain underneath, so 
as to prevent the animals from escaping, until daylight 
dawned, when they could see to shoot them. Some- 
times they would build a fire underneath the tree, to 
enable them to see the coon, and sometimes they would 
chop the tree down, so that they could get at him. The 
raccoon is, like the bear, a hibernating animal, and lies 
dormant in the winter time. They were quite numer- 
ous in the backwoods settlements, and were found 
frequently in the older settled parts. They live chiefly 
on nuts and green vegetation, such as corn, clover, etc. 
They are harmless and rather cowardly animals, unless 
cornered, when they will fight desperately, and frequently 
came out victors in their fights with the dogs, when the 
farmer was not close at hand to help his dogs. They 
are sharp, cunning, quick-scented, and keen of eye, and 
will cry to imitate a child, and whistle sharply, appar- 
ently for the purpose of calling or answering one 
another. If a number of them happen together and are 
pursued, they will take to the nearest tree and get out 
on the furthest branches, or hide in the crotches, where 
they have been found after being shot. Their fur is 
handsomely marked, and is valuable for making into 


garments and leather. The leather is one of the 
strongest to be got, and is very useful for making laces 
for shoes and belting. 

Hunting for Bees. 

In the woods were to be found numerous hollow trees 
where escaped swarms of bees had taken up their abode. 
It was quite a profitable business at one time to locate 
these wild rustic hives and rob the bees of their honey. 
This was usually done in the fall of the year when the 
flower season was nearly over, and after the bees had 
laid in their winter's supply of food. The bee hunter 
would place some honey as a bait in a small box, and 
perhaps burn some comb to make an odor to attract the 
bees. On a bright sunshiny day he would go out to 
the woods to " course the bees."* A good place to com- 
mence from was the vicinity of a stream, where the bees 
were generally to be found in large numbers, having 
come there in quest of water. The bee hunter would 
wait patiently until some bee, flying around in the sun- 
light, was attracted by the odor of the burnt comb, and 
would fly into the trap prepared for it. After it had 
gorged itself with honey it was allowed to wend its way 
homeward, the direction it took being carefully noted. 
The trap was then moved a few rods further on, in 
which position it was kept until other bees, which had 

magnifying glass was sometimes used for "coursing the bees." 


possibly been informed by bee No. 1 of its find, would 
fly into the trap. The direction they took as they were 
let out of the trap in turn was noticed and the trap 
moved further on, as before. This would be repeated 
until the bee hunter arrived in the vicinity of the hive. 
Sometimes cross scents would enable him to find several 
bee trees in which the wild honey was stored at the 
same time. The spot where the bee tree was located 
was marked and the bees allowed to remain unmolested 
until late in the fall. On some cold day, when the bees, 
being chilled by the cold, were not so liable to sting, the 
tree was chopped down and the honey taken away. If 
the season was a good one the hunter was often well 
rewarded for his labors and took away honey by the 
pail, and even tubful. It is said that bears were fond 
of honey and, when possible, would rob the log bee 

Every country school boy has had the experience of 
robbing a bumble bee's nest. How diligently he would 
work up the sod and ground where a nest was supposed 
to be until he carne upon the cone-shaped sacs full of the 
sweetest honey. What mattered a few stings, so long 
as he found a good supply of nature's luscious nectar. 
It is said the bumble bees, when they found they were 
about to be robbed, would at once commence to fill 
themselves with honey and would often leave very little 
for the boys. It might be well in this connection to 


^',. ..... . ... .,-,. , s//&_ 

&t * -:<< 

*^ *' ''"'>. ../<. ' 

/0 4 I 

^-; / - 



List of War Losses, 1812. 


mention how the expression " bee line " originated. 
When the bees have filled themselves with honey they 
fly up into the air to a certain height and then make a 
straight line for home. 

NOTE. It must be remembered that it was only in cleared or partially 
cleared sections of the country that bee- hunt ing was carried on, as all 
of the wild swarms had a domesticated ancestry. Many of the farm- 
yards years ago were dotted with bee' hives. If not carefully watched 
when swarming time came the new swarms were sure to get away and 
find a home for themselves in the neighboring woods. 

Hunting and Trapping. 

Birds and animals of all kinds were very numerous 
at the first settlement of the province. Settlers were 
then experts in the use of the gun. Part of the day's 
toil was the search for and killing of game, which was 
looked to as a necessary and regular means of replenishing 
the larder, which for the first few years after settlement 
was not always any too well supplied. Along the lakes, 
rivers and creeks, wild fowl, such as ducks, etc., were to 
be found in great abundance. In some localities wild 
turkeys were very plentiful and venison and bear meat 
frequently took the place of beef and pork. The wild 
geese when flying by would stop to feed and it was 
common for some of them to be bagged in numbers by 
the pioneer hunter. The peculiar drumming sound 
made by the partidge could be heard any day in the 
woods. Snares were set for rabbits and other animals. 


Many animals were killed for their fur. When not 
easily secured by the rifle-ball and shot they were 
trapped. The common trap was the steel trap with 
jaws, which was of different sizes. A very large one 
was called the deer gin. Muskrats were caught by 
small traps of this kind. Bears were often caught by 
means of a dead-fall, or bear-pen. The bear-pen was 
built of logs, about eight feet long, four feet wide, and 
five feet high. The cover or log roof was made so that 
it could be raised at one end high enough to admit Mr. 
Bruin. One of the logs was made longer than the rest 
and when the roof was raised it extended behind the 
pen to the ground, where it was lightly fastened. To 
this end of the log was attached a cord, which had a 
piece of meat fixed to the other end of the cord in the 
pen. The bear attracted by the bait would walk 
around the pen a number of times, snuffing as he 
went, and finally, not being able to resist the tempta- 
tion any longer, he would make a leap into the pen, and 
pull at the bait, when suddenly down comes the roof, 
making him a prisoner and placing him at the mercy 
of the settler, who soon dispatched poor bruin with his 

The dead-fall for catching bears and large animals 
was made in the following manner : An enclosure was 
built of logs, an opening being left on one side to admit 
the animal. In this opening were fixed several logs, one 


on the other, the upper one being raised at one end, 
leaving space enough for the victim to crawl through. 
It was so fastened that when the animal got part way 
in and when he pulled at the bait the log came down 
upon him and held him fast. 

Fishing in the River. 

The rivers and lakes teemed with fish, chief among 
which were the whitefish, trout, salmon trout, pickerel 
and pike. In the Niagara River there were large num- 
bers of sturgeon, some of them measuring as much as 
five or six feet in length and weighing sixty or seventy 
pounds. The larger fish were caught by trolling and 
spearing as well as by nets. To catch pike the fisher- 
men would shoot over the water, when the fish would 
come to the surface belly upwards, apparently stunned 
by the sound. They would remain in this state for a 
time, when they were picked out of the water by hand. 

On a fine day, a small boat with several men in it 
might be seen remaining almost motionless, except for 
a slight movement of the oars, out in the middle of the 
stream, when all at once one of the men could be seen 
moving his hands quickly in the act of drawing in a 
line, shortly after which a silvery fish would appear at 
the surface of the water and be quickly drawn into the 

Frequently on a dark night a light could be seen 


moving along the river, which might be mistaken for 
one of the lights on the opposite bank only for the 
dropping into the water of the sparks from the " Jack- 
light," and the reflection of the light on the faces of 
the men as they moved around, spear in hand, ready to 
thrust it into the body of the first tish that made its 
appearance. The Jack-light was made of fat pine knots 
(knots full of pitch), or hickory bark placed in a basket 
made of hoop iron hung up to a pole at one end of the 
boat. The fish were attracted by this light and would 
quickly come to the surface, when the fisherman could 
sight them and speedily gather them in. In the winter- 
time the settlers would cut holes in the ice, through which 
they would catch the fish. The fish would gather 
around the opening in the ice, where they became easy 
victims of the hook and the spear. In the spring of 
the year the sucker (so called from the shape of its 
mouth) would swim up the rivers and creeks to spawn 
in the shallow running water. Being stopped in their 
course by the dams, which they could not get over,* 
the people would set nets for them at this point and 
catch large quantities, enough to supply the whole 
country round. Another arrangement they had for 
catching the fish in the small streams was the " weir," 
a framework made of stakes placed close together. 

* The suckers have been known to jump five or six feet higher inr 
order to get over the dams. 


This was put across the stream from bank to bank so as 
to intercept the fish on their way up, when they would 
catch them in great numbers. This was the Indian 
plan. The throwing into the water of the sawdust from 
the mills situated along the banks of the rivers and 
lakes has proven most destructive to the fish, so much 
so that they are not nearly as plentiful as they were at 
one time. The sawdust settled to the bottom and pre- 
vented the fish from spawning and procuring their food. 
Since the government has prohibited the throwing of 
the sawdust into the streams, in places where a few years 
ago there was scarcely a fish to be found they are again 
becoming plentiful, helped on by the present fishery 
regulations and the restocking of the denuded waters. 

The Wild Pigeons and Wild Geese. 

Every spring and fall the country was visited by 
immense flocks of wild pigeons and wild geese ; in the 
fall, on their way to the south, and in the spring, on 
their way to their breeding places in the forests of the 
north, although in the early days, when the country 
was nearly all bush, they frequently selected a suitable 
place for hatching out their young, and remained in the 
locality all summer. The wild geese were headed by a 
goose called the " leader," and flew so high in the air that 
} r ou might not notice them except for the cackling noise 
they made in their flight. The wild pigeons were very 


plentiful, and were then one of the pests which the 
farmer had to contend with, for he was obliged to keep 
them off his grain fields, as they were very destructive 
to the crops. They were so thickly numerous and 
packed when they were flying by that sometimes 
they fairly darkened the air (some may doubt this, but 
it is said to be a fact by some of the old settlers). 
Oftentimes they would locate their rookeries or breed- 
ing places near the settlements ; then there was lots of 
pigeon pie to be had, for the people would go out to 
these breeding places and bring away pigeons by the 
bagful, which it was the custom to make into pigeon 
pie. They were so thick sometimes that frequently all 
that was necessary was to knock them down with 
sticks. Sometimes the branches on which they rested 
would break with their weight, and kill a number of 
the pigeons. 

Different devices were used for catching the pigeons 
when they came around the farm. One of the most 
simple and ingenious of these was the figure 4 trap. 
Three sticks were cut the required size and notched so 
that when put together they resembled the figure 4. 
The grain for bait was placed on the ground underneath 
the long stick. The cage was placed over this, with one 
end resting on the top of the figure 4, and holding it in 
position. As the pigeons came underneath and brushed 
against the long stick down came the cage, making 
them prisoners. 


^{ < 







List of War Losses, 1812 Continued. 




HE old-fashioned country dance was a very 
friendly means of amusement, everyone 
present being of the same social standing. 
It almost invariably took place in the 
evening, after the wind-up of a logging bee, a raising 
bee, a husking bee, or a wedding, and usually lasted 
till the break of day. Often surprise parties were 
gotten up, the young folks going in sleigh-loads dis- 
tances of five or ten miles to some friend's house, 
where they knew they would be made welcome, to 
have a dance. Nowadays the young people are gen- 
erally dressed in their best attire, but in the olden 
time the folks were not so particular about their 
appearance, the men from the logging field often dancing 
in their shirt sleeves with the country lasses in their 
linsey-woolsey or striped woollen dresses. These dances 
in the olden time were usually called " sprees," and well 
14 209 


they might be, for whiskey, wine and cider being freely 
supplied by the host, the young men very frequently 
became over merry from its effects. Often a dance was 
held in houses where there was only space enough to 
.move around, but, as there were no carpets to take up, 
the furniture was soon put to one side to make room. 
After the people became better circumstanced and more 
stylish, there was an annual ball held in the ballroom, 
over the driving-shed of the country tavern. This was 
usually a " swell " affair. In the olden time, just the 
same as now, the girls indulged in petty coquetries and 
the gentlemen in flirtations, and between the dances the 
couples could be seen sitting around in the shady places 
exchanging loving glances and whispered nothings, the 
girl, perhaps, sitting on her sweetheart's knee, for 
they made no show of affectation, everything being 
done in the spirit of true rustic simplicity. Music was 
furnished by some noted local musician, who generally 
played the fiddle by ear, a collection being taken up 
among the young men to pay him for his services.* 
Above the noise of the dancing and the scraping sound 
of the fiddle could be heard the voice of the caller-off, 
as he shouted out : " Salute your partners," " Grand 

* When a musical instrument of any kind was not obtainable, some 
one present would whistle, lilt or sing a tune for the dancing. In the 
backwoods settlements many of the young folks were quite expert at 
such humble means of supplying harmonious sounds, which served for 
the time the devotees of Terpsichore. 


chain," " Promenade all," etc. Waltzing not being popu- 
lar, was very little known in the early days, the square 
dances being most in vogue, and amongst them being 
such dances as " The Soldier's Joy," " Money Musk," 
" Old Dan Tucker," " Pop Goes the Weasel," etc., many 
of which are still popular. The different kind of reels 
were the fashion, viz., the Scotch reel, the Irish reel, 
the four-hand reel, the eight-hand reel, etc., also jigs 
and hornpipes. Fagan, the poet, describes the different 
kinds of dances as follows : 

" With decent Irish jigs we beat the floor, 
And practised hands would dance the old P'rench four. 
With jig and reel we made the shanty ring, 
And those who could not dance would lilt or sing. 
The name of polka then was never heard, 
And only Jews would wear a lengthy beard. 
But times are changed, and every year is worse, 
And beardless boys, like Irish jigs, are scarce." 

The Charivari (Shivaree). 

Usually, when one of the boys in the neighborhood 
got married, a number of the young men would gather 
of an evening and serenade the young married couple. 
The musical instruments used were tin horns, strings of 
horse-bells, cow-bells, the horse-fiddle, tin pans, copper 
kettles, and anything and everything else they could 
find that would make noise enough. They would keep 
quite still until they got close up to the house, when all 
of a sudden the most unearthly music would strike on 
the ear of the guests. 


There would be heard the shooting of guns, the 
grating of the .horse-fiddle, the ringing of bells, the 
beating of tin pans and copper kettles, etc., together 
making the most discordant possible noise. They 
would keep up this horrible din till late in the night, 
unless the bridegroom came forth and gave them money 
or invited them in to partake of refreshments. 

If the wedding party refused to treat them, they 
would often keep up the racket for three or four nights 
in succession. Occasionally some of the wedding party 
would resist the intrusion, and altercations would take 
place, which not unfrequently resulted fatally. In such 
cases the crime was generally condoned, nothing was 
done to the perpetrator, the law considering that a 
man who was killed at a charivari was a wanton 
trespasser who deserved his fate. 

If the match happened to be an extremely objection- 
able one in the estimation of the neighbors, as, for 
instance, the marriage of an old man of eighty to a 
girl of sixteen, the boys would sometimes carry their 
depredations further than a mere serenade. They have 
been 'known to get on the roof of the house, place a 
board over the chimney, and smoke the wedding party 

If they carried their depredations too far, informa- 
tion was often laid against them by the offended party, 
and they were summonsed before the country squire, who 
usually imposed a fine on them by way of punishment. 


Although the charivari was a rough game, it was one 
of the social diversions of the young people in the 
early days, and without these diversions it was con- 
sidered that life would have been dreary indeed. This 
form of sport has, however, almost died out, law- 
abiding people nowadays being opposed to such unlaw- 
ful proceedings. 

A description of the horse-fiddle might be interesting 
and instructive, as it is known only to the young people 
of the present day by name. A wooden wheel, three or 
four inches in diameter, with a number of slanting 
teeth cut into it, was placed between two pieces of board 
held in place by a wooden rod, which went through a 
hole through the wheel and boards, and extending a 
foot or two on both sides, served as a handle for twirling 
it. Another piece of flexible board was fitted in between 
the two boards in such a way that as the end which 
touched the cogs of the wheel was displaced by the 
turning of the wheel it made a rattling noise which 
could be heard half a mile away. 

NOTE. Mrs. Moody says the charivari originated among the French 
of Lower Canada. 

The "Old Sorrel." 

The enforcement of the moral law was very strictly 
insisted upon in the olden times. Those found guilty of 
infringement of the law had quick, summary justice 
dealt out to them by the people themselves, without the 


aid of judge or jury. The usual way of disposing of 
offending persons was to give them a rough ride on the 
" old sorrel," or, in other words, to give them a coating 
of tar and feathers and set them astride of a fence rail. 
Usually, once was sufficient, for, after plucking out the 
feathers and making himself presentable, the culprit 
would quickly decamp for parts unknown. This was 
the way they treated some of the Mormon apostles who 
went through the country fifty or sixty years ago trying 
to get converts to a system of religion which advocated 
polygamy, or a plurality of wives. The " tarring and 
feathering " process consisted in divesting the culprit of 
his clothing and covering him all over with tar made 
from the pitch got from the pine trees, and then rolling 
him in feathers, which made him resemble a bird more 
than a human being. 

NOTE. The term, " Old Sorrel," was not used by the people gen- 

The Spelling School. 

Spelling schools were very common in the early days. 
The young people in the different school sections would 
meet on certain appointed evenings in the winter to have 
a match. Sometimes the match would be between 
different schools. Great throngs would gather to wit- 
ness the contest, which always created a great deal of 
rivalry. The old people as well as the young took a 


great interest in these matches. It certainly was a good 
way to teach the young people the art of spelling, for, 
besides the gain in educational advantages, it afforded 
the means of enlightened amusement and diversion. 

A captain was invariably chosen for each side, and he 
selected the spellers in turn, according to his knowledge 
of their proficiency. Many of the young folks, as a 
result of these matches, became expert spellers, and 
could often correct college-bred men in their ortho- 
graphy. The lists of words in the old spelling-books 
were almost as familiar to some of the boys and girls as 
were the letters of the alphabet. In order to spell 
down opponents ' it was necessary to hunt up the most 
obsolete and difficult words possible, and even then some 
of the spellers were almost invulnerable, unless they 
became worried or excited and forgot themselves for the 
time being. When they did misspell a word, they usually 
recognized their mistake as soon as they had made it 
and acknowledged the correction. 

The Singing School. 

Another valuable means of recreation and improve- 
ment was the singing school. The singitfg master was 
usually a young farmer, or some one selected from a 
near-by town, who, having had the benefit of some 
musical instruction, and being gifted with a good strong 
voice and a fair ear for music, took upon himself the 


duty of teaching the young people in the rural districts 
the art of singing by note, and in that way adding to 
his income. He generally had a class for three or four 
evenings during the week, and drove around in a cutter 
to his different appointments in the school houses and 
churches of the district. His efforts in drilling the 
young men and maidens in the musical art were not as 
a rule productive of very great results, for the majority 
of his pupils at the end of his term of lessons knew very 
little more about principles of harmony and the reading 
of music by note than they did at the beginning. How- 
ever, they had their money's worth in the fun and 
enjoyment of a not unhealthy employment of the 
mind. Usually these classes were patronized only by 
the younger class of people, and in the absence of the 
old folks the former made good use of their term of 
liberty, and although the singing master brought all the 
dignity and authority of his position to bear upon his 
work, he at times found it no easy matter to keep the 
young people under control. The singing master was 
quite usually a most imposing personage, as he stood 
on the platform and with a piece of chalk in hand, 
drew the musical staff on the blackboard, putting the 
notes here and there as he saw fit, with the necessary 
flats and sharps at the beginning, or bit his tuning fork, 
and listened to its vibrations as he sang out, " Do, re, 
mi, fa, sol," and started the choir of singers off on some 


piece of music, flourishing his baton in the air as he beat 
time for the singers. 

An entertainment was generally given at the end of 
his term of lessons, the receipts of which were handed 
to the singing master, the fees from the scholars not 
always being sufficient to remunerate him for his 
services. Fifty and sixty years ago, before the days of 
coal oil lamps, the young people carried candles and 
candlesticks with them to singing school, the girls vieing 
with each other as to who could bring the prettiest 

Pop Corn, Nuts and Apples. 

During the long winter evenings the children would 
frequently gather before the fireplace and amuse them- 
selves by popping corn and cracking nuts. The " pop " 
corn is a variety of corn with a small ear and small 
kernel, and is raised only for the purpose of popping. 
In the fall of the year it is taken off of the stalk, the 
husks pulled back and tied in a loop at one end of the 
ear ; a number of ears are then bundled together and 
hung up till winter to dry. A small handful of corn 
after being shelled is put into a frying pan or spider, 
covered up and held over the hot coals in the fireplace. 
After constant shaking for a minute or two, the kernels 
swell and burst and fill up the pan with white feathery 
particles. The nuts, which were gathered in the autumn 


and spread out to dry in the shed or loft, are brought 
in. With hammers, flat-irons or stones they are divested 
of their shells and the meaty particles extracted and 
eaten. By way of variety there was always a pan or 
basket of apples for all to help themselves to in fact, a 
basket of apples was generally left specially on the table 
for eating, it being a common custom to partake of some 
fruit before retiring for the night. 

Brock's Monument. 




VER since Adam fell a prey to the charms 
of Eve man has always sought for 
woman's favor. In the salon of the 
courtier and the cabin of the backwoods 
settler Cupid's fatal shafts have fallen alike. The more 
primitive the life, the more unaffected the courtship. In 
the early days of the country many opportunities were 
afforded the young people for becoming better ac- 
quainted ; the frequent visits, especially in the winter 
time, the dances and the various bees in which they took 
part, threw the young people into each other's company 
and with the usual effect in such cases. When John 
became enamored of Mary he made frequent visits to 
her father's house and could be seen sitting with the 
family around the old fireplace, where, if his suit was 
favored by the parents, he was always a welcome guest. 
The folks being kept busy during the week, Sunday was 
the great day for courting, or " sparking," as it was 
commonly called. On pleasant Sunday afternoons 


rustic couples might frequently be seen walking arm-in- 
arm along the country roads, the young man, perhaps, 
carrying his sweetheart's parasol. The country church 
was a common place of meeting. Many of the young 
men were attracted thither on this account, if from no 
higher religious motive, and each would wait patiently 
at the church door until his special enamorata appeared, 
when he would quietly walk up beside her and ask for 
the privilege of "seeing her home." Sometimes a 
coquettish girl would have several strings to her bow. 
This not only set the people to wondering which young 
man would come out first choice, but often resulted in a 
quarrel, and sometimes, perhaps, a fistic encounter 
between the aspirants for the young lady's favor. After 
a reasonable period of courtship, during which the girl's 
mother had helped her prepare a stock of clothing (the 
trousseau is the more fashionable word), etc., the couple 
would be, of course, happily married and would take up 
their residence in a home of their own, which, if the 
young man's relatives were well-to-do, was frequently 
the " back place," a farm of fifty or one hundred acres on 
the concession at the rear of the old homestead or close 
by, where the young man had likely previously erected 
a Ing house and made a small clearing. Here, with a 
table, a bedstead, several chairs and the young woman's 
outfit of bedclothing, dishes, etc., provided for her for 
housekeeping, they would commence their married life. 


Such was about the usual course of events. Country 
courtship was not without its difficulties. Sometimes 
the neighborhood was startled by the announcement of a 
runaway marriage, the daughter of some well-to-do 
farmer eloping, perhaps, with her father's hired man, or 
with some other objectionable person of whom her 
parents disapproved. The old adage that " the course of 
true love never runs smooth," and that " love laughs at 
locksmiths," etc., was then as true in humble life in the 
bush as it has ever been in higher circles. Where 
suspicions were entertained of the young lady being 
likely to make an undesirable choice, a strict watch upon 
her movements was likely to result. But woman's wiles 
and cunning would conquer in the end. Where there 
was the will a way was found, even to the stealing out 
by the window and descending by a ladder or ropes, or 
by more primitive means, to meet her lover according to 
pre-arrangement. Forty or fifty years ago, across the 
border in the rural districts of New York State, run- 
away marriages were even quite fashionable. Even if 
the parents of the bride knew that she was engaged, she 
would often, unknown to her parents and friends, run 
away and get married and in that way give them a 
surprise. It is said that the poorer classes in New York 
State would frequently pay the magistrate for marrying 
them with a bushel of apples or a bag of turnips. 
Canadian law was not so favorable to elopements, for 


the banns of marriage had to be published beforehand, 
and when licenses were issued the couple had to prove 
that they were of marriageable age. Yet, with all 
these precautions, the law was frequently evaded. 

The Country Wedding. 

One of the most interesting social events of the 
country neighborhood was the wedding. Among well- 
to-do people it was generally made the occasion of much 
merry-making, all the friends and acquaintances of the 
contracting parties being invited to the festivity. Old 
and young mingled together and greeted one another 
with smiling faces and pleasant how-d'ye-does. In 
the early days the young couple, accompanied by several 
of their friends, drove off in a wagon or sleigh to some 
magistrate's or clergyman's house to have the nuptial 
knot tied ; at other times the minister would come to 
the house of the bride's parents to perform the cere- 
mony, or possibly the couple went to the church, if it 
happened to be convenient, to have the ceremony 
performed. In some localities, when buggies became 
common, this proceeding was followed by an afternoon's 
drive around the country. A long line of buggies could 
be seen on the country road, the procession being led 
by the bridal couple (the bride being distinguished by 
the long white bridal veil which she wore), followed by 
the bridesmaid and groomsman, and after that by the 

Where Brock Fell. 


younger members of the wedding party, all coupled off. 
The groom generally tried to have the fastest horse in 
the party, for if he did not others would get ahead of 
him and secure the prize which was offered to the one 
who got back to the house first. On such occasions the 
mischief -loving boy put in his work, and it was by no 
means a strange thing to have the wedding party 
brought to a halt by a rope stretched across the road 
until a donation was made to the roysterers. This 
buggy jaunt was the forerunner of the wedding trip 
or tour of the present day. When leaving home the 
pair were generally followed by a fusillade of old boots : 
this was supposed to insure them good luck on their 
journey through life. Nowadays the Oriental custom 
of throwing rice has been added, and at one wedding 
known to the writer fche event was announced by the 
bride's father firing off a gun three times. In the 
summer time, if there was not room enough in the 
house for the guests, the wedding dinner was partaken 
of outside ; long tables being set out in the orchard or 
lawn, or on the threshing floor of the barn, loaded down 
with the delicacies of the season, the tables being orna- 
mented with bouquets of flowers, and with a three or 
four storied frosted wedding cake in the centre, a piece 
of which the young ladies always carried home with 
them for placing under their pillows at night, in order 
that they might get a vision of their future husbands. 


These weddings were not without their funny incidents, 
and occasionally the guests were placed in an em- 
barrassing position by the lateness or non-appearance of 
the groom or, may be, the unwillingness of the bride at 
the last moment to consent to the ceremony, the con- 
fession being finally obtained from her that she had 
been married clandestinely to some secret lover. Some- 
times the bashful country swain, in his awkwardness, 
would find, when asked for the ring, that he had mislaid 
it, in which event the clergyman has been known to 
marry the couple with the key of the door, the ring 
being found afterwards in the lining of the young man's 
coat. After the ceremony was over it was the custom 
for all the ladies in turn to kiss the bride, and some- 
times the young men would try to secure the first kiss, 
the groomsman oftentimes managing to do this before 
the groom. It is told of one minister that he always 
made a practice of kissing the bride; the only time 
he was ever known to object was when the couple were 
colored. In the evening, after the wedding, the guests 
would assemble in loads for the all-night dance, a 
favorite trick of the driver of the sleigh in the winter 
time being to upset the young folks into a snow-bank. 
There would be considerable rivalry among the young 
men to get the second dance with the bride, the husband 
always being allowed the privilege of the first. One of 
the last things on the programme was the charivari, 



which the young men in the neighborhood who had 
not been invited to the wedding got up for the enter- 
tainment of the guests, the discordant notes got by 
hammering on the mould-board of a plough, or from some 
equally crude musical instrument, disturbing the tran- 
quillity of the midnight air. As a rule the charivari 
was gotten up to celebrate the wedding of an old 
bachelor or a widower, or some objectionable person 
that the boys thought would give them a good time or 
a five dollar note to spend at the country tavern. 





VERY farmer kept a watch-dog as a 
matter of course. The names of the 
different dogs on our grandfather's farm 
in the order of their lives were more 
familiar to us than the names of the kings of England 
or the presidents of the United States. Commencing 
with " Old Watch," then there was " Shep," " Jocko," 
" Skip " " Coley " and " Carlo." The dog seemed to be 
one of the individual characteristics of the place, and on 
our annual visit to the old farm, we were always glad, to 
see him and make friends with him. and truth to tell, 
we imagined from the preposterous wagging of his 
bushy tail, that he was equally pleased to see us at 
least, it took him but a short time to renew acquaintance 
with us and he could soon be seen following us as we 
went from house to barn, and from barn to house. I 
doubt whether as much attention is paid to the farm 
house-dog as formerly ; he is now kept outside for fear 
he may track the floor or soil the carpet. The moral to 


be learned from this is that we should cultivate more 
regard for dumb brutes than we do, for, 'like ourselves, 
they are God's creatures, and some of them not much 
below the intelligence of some human beings. The 
family watch-dog has always served a useful purpose on 
the farm, a good dog easily earning his own living, for 
besides keeping the poultry out of the garden and the 
cows out of the meadow, he would accompany the far- 
mer's boy every morning and evening when sent after 
the cows, and after the bars had been let down would 
run into the field, round up the cattle and chase them 
homeward, hurrying from one to another and starting 
them up as they lagged behind to browse the herbage 
along the way. The sagacity and faithfulness of the 
dog are as remarkable as they are well known and 
admired, and although only a dumb brute he seems to 
be gifted with more reason than most animals. Some 
may think it is instinct only ; the writer believes that the 
dog can reason in a way of his own. He can be taught 
many useful tricks, and if properly trained soon gets to 
know what is expected of him. He is affectionate, and 
if well treated will see that no harm comes to his mas- 
ter's property. The children can safely be left in his 
charge. He is a sworn enemy of tramps and vagrants, 
and seems to know by the sense of smell whether a per- 
son is wanted on the premises or not. Some of the old 
pioneers had dogs trained to do the churning. They 


were fastened to the treadmills which operated the 
churn and after the churning was done were rewarded 
with a piece of bread and butter. Some of them 
dreaded the work, as did the old turnspit dogs of Old 
Country kitchens of former days. When they saw pre- 
parations being made for churning or roasting, it is well 
known that the dogs would run off and hide themselves, 
necessitating oftentimes tying them up beforehand. 

NOTE. It is said that a good dog knew all the cows and horses, etc., 
on the farm, and if a stray animal came on the place would single it 
out and chase it away. 

A Trip to Market. 

Years ago a trip to market meant a long drive through 
the woods, over corduroy and muddy roads, for the 
market towns were then few and far between. About 
the only commodity the farmer raised that he could 
realize money for was wheat, and sixty years ago it 
sold for 3-5 and 40 cents a bushel. The towns did not 
have the population to demand much farm produce, and 
the facilities for transportation were poor, consequently 
the prices were low. 

The writer's father remembers when butter sold for 
six and eight cents a pound, and eggs for four and five 
cents a dozen in trade, and sometimes merchants would 
not take his butter and eggs at any price. What the" 
farmer raised was chiefly for his own use, for by barter 


and by making what he needed in the way of clothing, 
implements, etc., he could live very well without outside 
assistance. Still he was always glad to avail himself of 
any means by which to get some cash. 

As a rule, the pioneers, when they first located on 
their bush farms, did all their farm work with oxen, 
for they were cheaper and could be used to better 
advantage in logging and other rough farm work than 
horses. His trip to mill or market was usually made 
behind these primitive steeds. It was, to be sure, a 
slow way of travelling, but he was glad to possess such 
a team. Most of our prosperous farmers of that time 
began life in this v/ay. If we could take a backward 
glance at Toronto even fifty or seventy-five years ago, 
we would, no doubt, see a great many ox teams around 
the market. Later on, as the land became cleared and 
the farmers more prosperous, horse teams became more 

In order to reach market early, the farmers who had 
long distances to go, say from fifteen to thirty miles or 
more, were obliged to travel all night or to start very 
early in the morning, perhaps as early as two or three 
o'clock, on their journey. Of course, they traded off 
some of their produce, as butter and eggs, at the country 
store, but in order to get a fair price it was necessary 
to go to town. On his trip to market it was customary 
for the farmer's wife to accompany him, so as to get rid 


of her share of the produce, viz., the butter and eggs, 
and to make purchases for their home. The ride, 
especially in the winter, was a cold one, but well 
wrapped up in blankets, buffalo robes, and quilts from 
the bed, they succeeded in making themselves comfort- 
able. It was not unusual for them to travel on a cold 
frosty morning with hot bricks wrapped in cloth placed 
at their feet. 

Preparations for the trip were always made the day 
beforehand the butter and eggs packed, the grain 
bagged and placed in the wagon or sleigh box, or the 
hay loaded up on the rack. This trip to market was a 
pleasant change to the farmer and his wife from the 
daily drudgery and monotony of farm life ; and with 
many it meant the uncorking of bottles and a temporary 
little jollification. As farmer met farmer they clinked 
their glasses together over the bar and talked of their 
cattle, sheep, calves, colts, etc. It was considered a 
necessary duty to call at the different inns on their way 
home, and while the good wife waited the farmer would 
have a glass of toddy to warm him and a talk with the 
tavern keeper. 

An Auction Sale on the Farm. 

If a farmer wished to sell out and retire, or go to 
another part of the country, he would dispose of his 
stock and other property by auction. The sale was 


advertised in the country town newspaper, if there was 
one, as well as by auction bills on the fences, in the bar- 
rooms of the hotels, blacksmith shops, stores and other 
conspicuous places. It was usually headed "Auction 

Sale," " on the farm of , on the concession of ," 

in large type. Following this, in smaller type, was a list 
of the animals and articles to be sold, every article of 
any importance being enumerated, as, for instance, so 
many head of cattle, so many horses, sheep, pigs, etc.; 
also farm implements, such as wagons, ploughs, etc. After 
this came the terms of payment, which were usually 
joint note for nine months or a year, with so much 
percentage oft' for cash. The auctioneer had to be on the 
ground early to value the stuff. Besides being a good 
valuator, it was necessary for him to be good-natured 
and able to crack a joke. He usually had a stock of 
jokes for such occasions, and would spring them as 
required, for it was necessary to keep the crowd in good 
humor in order to get them to bid. He would take his 
stand on a box or barrel, or other elevated place, from 
which temporary rostrum he harangued the crowd. He 
usually started the sale with the smaller articles, such 
as hoes, rakes, etc., and left the most important articles 
until the last, so as to keep the crowd on the ground. 
As the different articles were put up by him, he could 
be heard calling out loudly something like this : " How 
much am I bid for this fine muley cow? Fifteen 


dollars, Mr. Smith. Fifteen, fifteen, fifteen; anybody 
bid sixteen? [A nod from some one in the crowd.] 
Sixteen ! Mr. Jones. Sixteen, sixteen, sixteen. Surely 
you are not going to let this cow go for sixteen 
dollars? Seventeen dollars, do I hear? Seven- 
teen, seventeen, seventeen. Going at seventeen. Sold 
to Mr. Brown for seventeen dollars." The farmers 
would come for miles around to attend an auction sale. 
And there was lots of fun at these sales, and even if 
they did not go to buy anything, they were sure to 
meet a number of their acquaintances there, and farmers, 
the same as other people, like a change now and then. 
At these sales were to be seen all sorts and conditions 
of men. There was the jolly fat man, the tall, slim 
man, the little man, "the homely man, and the handsome 
man. They could be seen standing around in groups 
here and there, discussing politics, and municipal 
matters, talking over local news, such as the crops, the 
roads, examining the different articles offered for sale, 
and giving their opinion as to their merits. Liquor 
was generally plentifully supplied by the party having 
the sale. It was policy on his part to furnish it, for 
usually after the farmers became a little " merry," they 
would be likely to bid things up a smart figure and 
would also be more easily tempted to buy many things 
they could have done just as well without. Many of 
the farmers, by buying articles because they were cheap, 

Beaver Dams Monument. 



contracted debts they were not able to pay at maturity 
of the notes given and so ruined themselves. Experience 
has made the farmers wiser, they do not now buy useless 
stuff at auction sales as did some formerly. They have 
come to the proper and sensible conclusion that if an 
article is not needed it is dear at any price. 





REVIOUS to the introduction of the steam 
engine the saw and grist mills in the 
country were operated by water power, 
with the exception of a few grist mills 
run by wind and called windmills. (See page 237.) 
These mills, being situated on some running stream 
where water-power could be obtained, were widely 
separated on account of the scarcity of suitable loca- 
tions and the expense of building and keeping up a 
dam. In some localities when the water was low the 
mill had to remain idle and unproductive for months. 
The water was conducted from the dam or pond by a 
race course and was carried by the " flume," a long 
wooden box, sometimes placed on trestle-work, to the 
" pen stock " over the wheel, where it was held by a 
gate or sluice, which could be raised or lowered as 
desired, so as to let the water fall into the buckets of 
the big wooden wheel, causing the wheel to revolve and 


turning the shaft connected with the gearing of the 
mill. The larger the wheel the greater the power. 
Some of the old " overshot " wheels were as much as 
thirty-six feet in diameter and over ninety feet in 
circumference, with a shaft two or three feet through. 
The ordinary wheel had a diameter of from twelve to 
fifteen feet, the flow of water in many cases not being 
sufficient to operate a very large wheel. They were not 
left exposed, as they usually appear to have been in the 
Old Country according to pictures we see, but were built 
over or boxed in to protect them from the weather, the 
drouth of summer and the frost and snow of winter. 
Later on the " undershot " wheel was invented and 
was made to turn by having a stream of water, flowing 
underneath, strike the paddles of the wheel. It was not 
so large as the overshot wheel. It was, however, claimed 
that the undershot wheel required one-third less power 
than the overshot. Both these wheels were superseded 
a,bout forty years ago by the iron turbine wheel, which 
gives far more power than either of the old-fashioned 
wheels, the water flowing to the centre or axle of the 
wheel. The turbine is smaller than either of the others. 
The mill-dams, usually built of logs, mud, plank and 
posts, often gave way in the spring and fall by the 
action of the frost and the force of the water during a 
freshet, and the repairing of them entailed a vast amount 
of labor and expense, as is also at present the case. 


The Old Sawmills. 

Here and there, where suitable locations could be 
obtained along the rivers and creeks, could be seen the 
old sawmill with its water wheel, flume, or race course, 
and dam for supplying water for power, and with heaps 
of saw-logs piled around ready to be converted into 
lumber for the settler. Usually, in the early days, 
when money was scarce the lumber was sawed on 
shares. When sawmills were not easy of access some 
of the pioneer settlers, from sixty to seventy-five years 
ago and earlier, sawed what lumber they needed with 
the " whip-saw." A hole was dug in the ground over 
which the log was rolled. The saw was drawn up and 
down by a man on top, the " top-sawyer," and a man or 
two below, with goggles or a veil on to keep the sawdust 
out of their eyes. This was a slow way of sawing 
lumber, but 'the settlers were compelled to resort to 
this method at times to get what lumber they needed. 
Sometimes a platform was built on the side of a hill 
and the log rolled on from above. In shipyards to this 
day lumber for certain parts of the ship is sawn in this 
way. Lumber was scarce in the early days, sawmills 
being, as before remarked, few and far between. The 
sawing had to be done in the fall, winter and spring, as 
in the summer the water was generally too low for the 


The Windmills. 

There were quite a few windmills in the country 
early in the century, and where they were to be found 
they formed one of the marked features of the land- 
scape, the old windmills at Fort Erie, Niagara and 
Windmill Point, in Prescott, being historical landmarks. 
The windmill was one of the most conspicuous build- 
ings then to be seen on the face of the country. In a 
picture of Toronto, probably a hundred years old, in the 
possession of the Canadian Institute, the old windmill 
stands out prominently. The windmills, being built on 
level ground or in elevated places could be seen from 
afar off, and with their spreading wooden fans looked 
like some huge butterfly against the sky. They are a 
very ancient form of power, and where water-power 
could not be easily obtained, before the days of steam- 
power, they came in very handy for grist-mill purposes. 
The old-fashioned windmills must not be confounded, 
however, with the windmills of the present day, with 
their iron fans, to be seen connected with so many up- 
to-date farm buildings, and which are used for grinding 
feed and drawing water for the stock. 

The Old-Time Winter. 

During the last hundred years careful observation 
goes to show that the climate has been changing con- 
siderably. Many attribute this to the cutting down of 


the forests. The winters are not nearly as severe as 
formerly. In the olden time the snow was generally 
very deep, and often covered the ground from Novem- 
ber to April. The farmers would go out with their 
teams (oxen and horses) the morning after a heavy fall 
of snow, and " break the roads." Oftentimes they 
would make a gap in a rail fence and allow the people 
to drive through the fields, or perhaps the journey 
would be made over the ice on the river until they 
arrived at a point where the road was passable. 

What a comfortable picture on a frosty winter's day 
is a backwoodsman's log house situated in a clearing, 
white with snow, with the smoke from the chimney 
curling up through the tree tops, the cows standing 
around in the barn yard, the dog whisking around the 
door ? It is, to the mind of the writer, a picture of 
comfort more perfect than that of a cold stone mansion 
on a palatial city street. It gives one an idea of a phase 
of life which might be described as living " near to 
nature's heart." 

In the winter time the children would gather on the 
side of some hill, and with their home-made sleds, with 
runners made of natural crooks or of boards, and shod 
with pieces of hoop-iron or hickory, make the air re- 
sound with their shouts, as they joyfully sped down 
the hill and out over the ice on the pond or river. This 
was making " the welkin ring." 



Skating was a common and healthy exercise, espe- 
cially for those who lived near the shores of the lakes, 
rivers and creeks. It afforded a means of locomotion in 
the wintertime, which in summer was changed for the 
row-boat, canoe or dug-out, the latter hollowed out of 
a log. 

Views of the Niagara. 

Anyone that has been born and raised on the old Nia- 
gara or has spent part of his childhood days there, must 
love the old river, its sights and its sounds. To those 
living above the falls there is always the knowledge of 
the fact that the mighty cataract is below them, which 
they must use caution in avoiding. This, of itself, gives 
a certain feeling of excitement and apprehension when 
crossing the river above this point. There are also the 
many sights which the youth, unharassed by the world's 
anxieties and cares, cannot fail to enjoy, and which 
remain indelibly impressed upon his mind wherever he 
may roam. The wharves extending out into the river 
here and there, the poplar points showing themselves 
above the surrounding landscape, the tugs steaming 
back and forth on the river, the spires of the churches 
pointing heavenward, the pretty recreation houses and 
grounds on the American side of the river, frequented 
by the pleasure-seekers from Buffalo all bring back 
fond recollections to his memory. He returned to find 


that, after all his wanderings, the sun never shone any 
brighter, the air never felt more balmy in any spot than 
it used to in his childhood days on the old Niagara. A 
drive along the river road at sunrise, with the reflection 
of the morning sun on the waters, with the dark woods 
of Navy Island looming up in the distance, recalling 
the time when the rebels, in 1837, made it their rendez- 
vous and fired their cannon balls towards the main 
shore, is an enjoyment not forgotten in a lifetime. The 
scene from the bank of the river on a fine moonlight 
night, the light from the moon shining on the rippling 
waters and causing them to sparkle like myriads of 
diamonds, the sound of merry voices from the water to 
the regular accompaniment and the movement of the 
oars, all so distinctly heard at times across the river, is 
another delight only to be felt at old Niagara. In the 
winter time, however, the river looks lonely and for- 
saken. An uncle of the writer, many years ago, came 
very nearly being swept over the falls. He was but a 
child of three or four years of age at the time. Unno- 
ticed, he got into a boat moored on the bank of the river 
in front of his father's Chouse. The boat became unfas- 
tened and was swept out into the middle of the stream. 
As the current bore it downward some of the family 
noticed the boy alone in the boat. It so happened that 
just then no other boat could be got to reach the boy. 
His father, however, followed him down the river bank 


for several miles, but still could not find another boat. 
Finally, when about three miles from home and about 
the same distance from the falls, by calling loudly pro- 
videntially he attracted the attention of a woman on the 
opposite shore, about three-quarters of a mile away. 
This good woman bade her son, who was painting a 
boat on the bank, right the boat he was painting and 
shove out into the stream to the rescue. Had the boat 
with the child floated much further down the stream it 
would have got into the strong current and been swiftly 
borne over the falls. It was a narrow escape, which 
gave the family much cause for thankfulness. 





HE woods were full of wild fruits and 
berries, many specimens of which have 
disappeared since the country became 
cleared. These fruits, such as wild 
plums, grapes, cherries and crab apples, were plenti- 
fully made use of by the settlers before the latter were 
able to raise cultivated fruits of their own. Some of 
our best varieties of domestic fruit were propagated 
from these wild fruit stocks. The best results are still 
got by grafting on wild stocks. Among the berries 
were the strawberry, blackberry, raspberry, huckle- 
berry (blueberry), cranberry, gooseberry, red and black 
currants. Some of these berries were to be found in 
profusion in the woods, in the slashings and around 
the stumps and fences of the clearings. Berry picking 
was one of the necessary occupations of the women and 
children of the family in the summer time. The berries 
were dried and made into sauce and preserves for winter 

Grandfather A Typical U. E. L. Descendant. 


use. Frequently, in pioneer times, the berry pickers 
would come upon bruin helping himself to his share of 
the crop of berries. Many of us later-day folks have 
some pleasant recollection of berry picking in our 
younger days. After a long tramp, we would some- 
times return home famished for want of water, tired 
and hungry, and many times with empty pails, what 
few berries we did get being eaten to help satisfy the 
cravings of our empty stomachs. 

The Familiar Wild Flowers. 

So few people are familiar with the appearance of the 
common wild flowers, let alone their names, that it will 
be a surprise to many of them to be told that there are 
hundreds of varieties in Canada. We may take notice 
of flowers, perhaps, when we see them in gardens or 
hot-houses, but very few of us realize that the most 
beautiful of the flowers in nearly every case, unless it 
is a tropical one, has its original in the wild flowers of 
the woods. It is true cultivation and fertilization have 
made a great change in their appearance, both as to 
size and beauty, but a true student of nature can see 
plenty to interest him in the modest flowers along the 
road, on the hillsides and in the woods of our glorious 
Canadian land. To find the different kinds one must 
go to the localities where certain varieties are known 
to grow. In the early days, when the country was 


covered with forest, he would not have far to travel, 
but nowadays he might have to trudge many a weary 
mile to secure a particular variety, for although it may 
not have become extinct altogether, it is now more diffi- 
cult to find. But why should we not know something 
about our wild flowers of the forest ? When once we 
have learned to recognize a flower and know its name, 
we can never forget it. It is not necessary for us to 
pull it to pieces to find out what flower it is we 
leave that to the botanist for when once known there 
is always some prominent distinguishing mark by which 
it is easily known. Flowers bloom in Canada from the 
time the snow leaves the ground in the spring till it 
comes again, but the month of June is the month of 
flowers, and it is in that month they are to be seen in 
their greatest variety and perfection. We will enumer- 
ate some of the more common occurring ones. Before the 
snow has entirely left the ground in the spring, in the 
open woods are to be found the hepaticas, pretty little 
flowers; then come the trilliums, purple and white, 
which look like silent sentinels in the not too densely 
shaded woods. The pretty columbine, with its scarlet 
hooded flowers and desiccated leaves, is to be seen here 
and there in some shady recess. The different varieties 
of ferns, stalwart cryptogams, the most prominent of 
which is the cinnamon or flowering fern, fill up the 
vacant spaces of the moist ground. On the hillsides 


and open grassy plains grow the violets, modest little 
flowers half hidden by the grass ; the ox-eye daisy, 
which in June and July dots the meadows like the 
stars in the sky ; the wavy lupine, with its wealth of 
blue ; the wild rose, with its delightful perfume, around 
whose stalk the bindweed climbs for support, mingling 
its white flowers with the delicate hue of the roses, and, 
last of all, the buttercup, which on account of its com- 
monness is scarcely noticed. 

Lost in the Woods. 

Those of us living at the present day can scarcely 
realize what it meant to be lost in the woods in the 
early days, when the country was covered with 
primeval forest and in which abounded ferocious wild 
animals. We can imagine we see the look of anxiety 
on some fond mother's face, when she found out that 
one of her children was missing lost in the woods ! 
This was a terrible time of trial and anxiety, only 
relieved by the joy of having been found. 

It was an easy matter for even grown persons to lose 
their bearings in the big stretches of bush, for in many 
cases the settlers lived three and four miles apart. 
Oftentimes children would get lost when sent after the 
cows, which were allowed to roam through the woods 
in search of pasture. Or, perhaps, when picking berries 
or looking for wild flowers, with which the woods were 


filled, children would lose track of the familiar land- 
marks, and when they were ready to return home would 
not know which direction to take. In one instance 
known to the writer, a boy was lost for three or four 
days, and when found was so weak from -want of food 
that he could scarcely walk. 

It was dangerous to get lost in the woods in the early 
days, for besides the liability of starving to death, there 
was always the danger of being attacked by the wild 
beasts with which the forest abounded. Oftentimes 
men when travelling through the woods would be over- 
taken by darkness, and not being able to find their way, 
would have to remain out over night, perhaps perched 
in the^branches of some tree, so as to be out of reach of 
the wolves and bears, and then there was danger of 
some treacherous wild-cat springing upon them. When 
it was reported that any one had been lost, the whole 
township would turn out to help hunt for the missing 
one, and would sometimes keep up the search for days. 
They would divide off in searching parties and would 
shoot off guns, blow horns and rattle tin pans to attract 
the attention of the missing party, as well as to let each 
other know where they were. When the missing one 
was found, a signal arranged beforehand, such as the 
shooting off of a gun three times, was given to let the 
other parties know, so that they could give up the search. 
Sometimes the searching party would form a line 


through the woods, of, perhaps, a hundred or more 
persons, and reaching a couple of miles or more, not so 
far apart but that each person could see the person 
nearest to him. In that way they would march right 
through the settlement, the end men having horns to 
notify the others. 

The following story is told of several men who lost 
their way in the woods of Upper Canada about fifty 
years ago. They were out for a stroll one afternoon, 
and although only a short distance from home were 
unable to find their way back. For two nights they 
were obliged to sleep on a bed of spruce boughs, and to 
subsist on beech-tree leaves.* One of them being a 
smoker had a supply of matches in his pocket, so they 
were able to make a fire at night to help keep them 
warm, and to drive away the mosquitoes. The third 
day, after wandering around in a fruitless endeavor to 
find the house, they heard a cow-bell,^ and knew they 
must be near some human habitation, so when they 
reached the cow one of them caught hold of its tail 
while the other thrashed it with a stick. The cow, not 

* It is said that beech-tree leaves contain considerable starchy 
matter and are, therefore, more nourishing than the leaves of other 

+ When cows were allowed to pasture in the woods, one of the herd 
always carried a bell. The owner always knew by the sound of that 
particular bell where his cattle were feeding. If he could not hear the 
bell distinctly, it is said, he would lie down with his ear to the ground 
and in that way catch the sound. 


liking this treatment, struck out for home, just as they 
expected she would do, taking the men with her and 
bringing them to a small clearing, with a hut and a 
patch of potatoes. They here found that they had 
wandered twenty miles from home. 

NOTE. It is said that people when travelling through tbe woods 
can tell the direction they are going by noticing the moss on the trees, 
which always grows on the north side of a tree. Sugar makers take 
advantage of this fact, and generally tap the maple tree on the south 
or sunny side. 

Forest Fires. 

At times during seasons of drouth, in certain sections 
of the country, fires would sweep through the woods 
and burn up large stretches of valuable timber land. 
These fires often originated in the choppings of the 
newly settled districts, when the settler was burning up 
his brush or log heaps, and sometimes from the Indian 
camp-fires. Being fed by the decaying logs and fallen 
timber in the surrounding bush, and fanned by the wind 
created by the intense heat, the flames would spread 
with great rapidity, killing and destroying the standing 
as well as burning up the fallen trees. For some time 
after a forest fire the country would look quite desolate 
until new growths of trees had taken the place of those 
which had been destroyed. The smoke created by these 
fires would darken the air for miles around and often 
necessitated lighting the candles early in the afternoon. 



The frightened deer and other wild animals could be 
seen running pell-mell to escape the conflagration. The 
settlers would often have to get out and fight the fire for 
days to prevent it from getting to their farm buildings ; 
and oftentimes in spite of their efforts their barns and 
dwelling houses would be destroyed. One method of 
arresting the progress of the fire was by ploughing a 
number of furrows so as to prevent its creeping along 
the dry grass, but oftentimes the flames would leap over 
these barriers, as well as over streams of water and 
catch at the opposite side. When the fire got in the 
vicinity of their buildings the settlers would cover the 
roof and sides of the houses with blankets wet with 
water to prevent them from taking fire. 

A Primitive Canadian Band. 

One of the few things that helped to enliven the 
summer evenings in the backwoods settlements was the 
" Bull Frog Chorus." As soon as the frost had disappeared 
from the ground in the spring their nightly din could 
be heard and all were glad to hear it, for it was the 
welcome harbinger of warm weather. If the settler 
happened to wake up in the night he would hear 
through the open window the continuous racket made 
by these dwellers in the pools and ponds, accompanied 
by the chirp of the tree-toad, the hoot of the night owl, 
and the song of the katydid or whip-poor-will. This 


swamp music was loudest in the spring, but died out 
somewhat late in 'the summer and fall, when the low 
places became dry. If surrounded by cheerful company 
the croaking of the frogs was not unpleasant, but if feel- 
ing sad or lonely, or if going through some wild swampy 
place alone at night it made everything appear dismal 
and forsaken. City people are sometimes glad to get 
away for a season to the backwoods, where they can 
quietly listen to the monotonous music of the frogs, 
The never-ceasing chr-r-r-r made by the millions of 
small frogs, lizards, or tree-toads, interspersed with such 
sounds as croak, croak cloog, cloog chuck, chuck 
bur-r-r, in various degrees of pitch, from the loud bass to 
the high alto and tenor, all giving a feeling of dreamy 
listlessness to the place that is a change from the noisy 
life of the city. When passing by a swamp at night, it 
would seem as if the whole place were alive, but on 
going close to the water the near-by noise ceases and 
save an occasional splash, as some big frog plunges into 
the water to get out of the way, all is quiet, with no 
sign of life, excepting perhaps here and there some soli- 
tary frog sitting on a root sticking up out of the water. 
Various amusing interpretations have been given to the 
noises of the frogs. They are generally of a local character 
and a take-off on some well-known individual in the place. 
We give the following story, related to the writer by a 
gentleman well acquainted with the men referred to, as 


an illustration. On the shores of Lake Scugog is a large 
marsh, near which is situated the village of Port Perry. 
Some years ago three of the prominent men of the place 
were Mr. Thomas Paxton, formerly member for North 
Ontario, and afterwards sheriff of the County, who 
carried on a large sawmill business there ; Mr. W. S. 
Sexton, once warden of the county, who was also en- 
gaged in the sawmill business on an extensive scale, 
and was a well-known man in the neighborhood, and Mr. 
Joseph Bigelow, who owned a store in the village and 
did a large business. The inhabitants of the village 
who listened to the nightly music in the marsh gave 
the refrain of the frogs the following interpretation : 

" Old-Sax-ton ! 
Tom-Paxrton ! 
Bigelow-too ! Bigelow-too ! !"* 

Mosquitoes and Black Flies. 

Two of the pests of the backwoodsman's life were the 
mosquitoes and black flies. They did not, like the 
wolves and bears, devour their victims, but they made 
life for man and beast during certain seasons of the 
year almost unbearable. The black fly time came in 
May and June. Their home was in the dense damp 
woods, but they were brought by the cattle out to the 

*The first two lines were repeated slowly, with a short pause between 
each syllable ; the last one quickly. 


clearings. They were a terrible torment, for, unlike the 
.mosquitoes, they could not be kept away from the face 
by netting, they managed so to work their way in under 
the clothing. Their bite was very painful and poisonous, 
and caused the flesh to swell badly. The settlers some- 
times smeared their faces with grease in order to pre- 
vent the flies from biting. As the clearings became 
larger these pests happily disappeared. The monotonous 
droning of the mosquito could be heard any night in 
the summer, a cessation of his song being usually fol- 
lowed by his alighting on some unprotected part of the 
body, and his presence being made known immediately 
after by an itching, sore feeling which followed the in- 
sertion of his proboscis underneath the skin. If there 
were an opening of any kind in the drapery of the bed, 
or in the netting of the bedroom window, Mr. and Mrs. 
Mosquito, and their uncles and aunts were sure to find 
their way in. They were as a rule worse before a rain- 
storm. The backwoods folks would make a smudge of 
chips to keep them out, but this itself was a torture, for 
the smoke was suffocating as well as irritating to the 
eyes. The settlers would often make a smudge for the 
cattle out of damp wood, as the cattle would frequently 
.come home frantic from the bites of these pests. Deer 
have been known to get in among the cattle to get the 
benefit of the smudge. It is claimed by medical men 
now that in imihu ial regions malarial disorders are con- 



tracted through the bite of the mosquito. After the 
country became cleared, so that the sun and wind could 
get in to dry up the moist low ground, their breeding 
places, this diminutive elephant became scarcer and was 
not seen, excepting in damp weather, or around the 
family rain barrel. The sand fly bite-em-no-see-em, as 
the Indians call it was also a great annoyance to the 
settlers. It also was worst in damp weather. 


FOREST LIFE (Continued}. 

QUIRRELS in the early days were very 
numerous. Of late years, however, their 
numbers have diminished considerably. 
There were about five varieties common 
to this section of the country, viz., the black, grey, red, 
flying, and ground squirrel, or chipmunk. The red and 
chipmunk are about the only two varieties that are at 
all common now in the older settled parts. The black 
squirrel, which at one time was so plentiful, is very 
rarely seen now, excepting in the newly settled districts. 
They were very fond of grain, and could often be seen 
in large numbers in the wheat fields when the wheat 
was ripening. They would bite off the head of the 
'grain stalk and carry it away to their nests. Being 
large, they were much sought after by the hunter for 
their fur and their flesh, which latter, when cooked, is 
said to taste very much like that of a chicken. This 
fact, no doubt, had a great deal to do with their rapid 
extermination. The flying squirrel was never very 


common, and it is only a few of the older people who 
remember seeing one in the wild state. Squirrels live 
in holes in the hollow trees, with the exception of the 
ground squirrel, which lives in holes in the fallen trees 
or logs, and the ground. They live principally on nuts 
and grain, of which they lay away great stores in their 
snugly-constructed homes, for supplying them with 
food during the long winter months. It was one of the 
amusements of the boys to chase the squirrels with 
sticks along the old rail fences. This meant death to 
the squirrel in most cases. When killed their tails 
were often placed in the boys' hats as trophies. If the 
boys saw a chipmunk running up a tree they would 
hammer on the trunk of the tree with a stick. This 
would bring Mr. Chipmunk down to the ground, where 
he was the more easily despatched. 

For years back it has been the custom on Thanks- 
giving Day in November, in many of the country towns 
and villages, for the young men who practised gunning 
to choose sides and spend the day in hunting for game, 
the side bringing in the greater number of rabbits, 
birds' heads, squirrels' tails, etc., being free guests at the 
supper held in the evening and paid for by the losing 
side. Unknown to the others, some of the unprincipled 
young men would go out hunting days beforehand, thus 
stealing a march upon and meanly cheating their oppon- 
ents. Of course, this was not fair sport, and the guilty 


parties, when found out, were generally frowned down 
upon and their company avoided and dispensed with 
in future matches of any kind. 

The Fox. 

In some localities where there was considerable bush 
foxes were very plentiful. Their short, sharp bark, 
which resembled that of a dog, only sharper and not 
quite so loud, could be heard at night when they came 
out of their holes in search of food. They lived in 
holes they burrowed in the sand or loose soil, mostly on 
the side of a hill, near the woods. 

A great deal has been said about the cunning of the 
fox, but it is only necessary to know of their habits to 
be convinced of the truth of the saying, for truly there 
is no animal more wily or crafty than he. Their fur is 
valuable if obtained at the right time of the year any 
time from September to April months with the letter 
r in the name. At any other time the fur is loose and 
poor in color. These animals are frequently poisoned, 
but great pains have to be taken in setting the bait. It 
must not come in contact with the hand, or Reynard 
will not touch it. Usually a hole is made in a piece of 
lard, strychnine is placed in this hole, after which it is 
plugged up. The lump of lard is then carried on the 
end of a stick to a place frequented by the fox. 
Strychnine is also placed in a piece of meat, with the 

THE FOX. 257 

same precautions. It is almost impossible to catch 
foxes in a trap, but they are frequently shot. It is 
necessary when hunting them to take along a fox- 
hound, or some other dog trained for the work, as no 
other will answer. The best time to start out is early 
in the morning, when their tracks are fresh in the snow, 
as the hound can only scent a fresh track. As soon as 
the hound strikes a track he begins to howl, and keeps 
this up all the time as he follows the track, only 
howling the louder as he gets nearer the fox. The fox 
is a fleeter animal than the dog, who only helps to keep 
the hunter on the track. He will not take to his hole 
when being hunted unless he becomes very tired, but 
will keep up the chase for a whole day. When followed 
he runs round in a circle over his own tracks, unless he 
sees the hunter, and then he will strike out in a new 
direction. When possible, he will jump from the snow 
on to a piece of ground, so as to put the dog off his 
scent, as the scent is not so good on the ground, but he 
will not take to water. You cannot drown or smoke 
him out of his hole, as he will die first. But sometimes, 
when digging him out, smoke is blown in to find the 
other holes (he generally has two or more), and thus 
prevent his escape. 

He lives on birds, rabbits, etc., and has been known 
to tackle lambs a couple of months old. In the early 
days he frequently attacked the hen roosts, so that it 


was necessary to pen up the fowl at night, so as to keep 
them from the depredations of Reynard. He would 
catch a goose by the neck, give it a sudden jerk to 
break it, throw the goose over his shoulder, and then 
away as fast as possible to his den. 

NOTE. Since the bush has become small the foxes have disappeared. 

Rabbit Hunting. 

Rabbits were more plentiful years ago than they are 
now. There were a number of varieties, viz., the gray, 
brown, black, and jack rabbit, but the kind that was 
the most common was the little gray or cotton tail. 
They live chiefly in the swamps, in holes or burrows in 
the ground, and subsist on cedar boughs, herbs, roots, 
clover, grain, etc. Their flesh is good to eat. Excellent 
for eating is a rabbit stew, being a dish fit for an 
epicure when properly cooked. They are frequently 
caught for their flesh, as well as for their fur and 
skin, which is made by tanners into leather for gloves. 

The fox-hound was often used for hunting them, 
their tracks being easily discovered in the fresh snow. 
They were sometimes caught by the figure 4 trap, 
but more commonly by snares. The snares used for 
this purpose were made of brass wire. It is fastened to 
a tree, a loop or noose being made and set across their 
runways. When the rabbit runs through this noose it 
tightens around his neck and chokes him. 





This old homestead is situated on the River road, six miles 
above the Falls. It is occupied by Wm. Miller, a grandson of 
the original owner. 


The military history of Fort Niagara dates back to 1678, 
when a house defended by palisades was built here by LaSalle. 
Under French rule it was considered an important point for 
fostering and holding the fur trade and went through various 
changes and vicissitudes. Of the present buildings the large 
stone building called the Mess House, or Castle, was built by 
the Marquis de Vaudreuil in 1726. Report says the stone for 
building it was brought from Frontenac, It contains a dun- 
geon called the Black Hole, where men were said to have been 
put to death. The well of the castle was located in this dun- 
geon. The fort was finally taken from the French by the 
British in 1759, in whose possession it remained till 1796, 
when it was handed over to the United States. Many 
British refugees found shelter here during the Revolutionary 
War. The present walls are of comparatively modern con- 

The barracks at the rear are of historic interest. 

MILITARY RELICS- (Niagara Historical Society) ... 28 

The central figure of this collection is Brock's cocked hat. 
Strange to say, it was never worn by Brock, as it was on its 
way from England at the time of his death. It was placed on 
the coffin at his later burials. This fact gives it great historical 
value. Sergeant's sashes (1812); key of Fort Mississauga; 
Swords (1812) second one at top is the one handed over by 


the officer in charge of Fort Niagara when that fort was taken 
by the British from the United States in 1813 ; officer's epau- 
lettes (1812); Captain Shaw's coat (1812); Joseph Brant's 
powder horn (at top of picture); 10th Royal (now Grenadiers) 
cap, same as was worn at Battle of Ridgeway ; old cartridge 
pouches ; horse pistol ; canteens, etc. 

CROWN LAND DEED (1799) 32 

The original deed, of which this is a photograph, belonged 
to the writer's great-great-grandfather. It is 21 inches long 
by 14 inches wide. Notice the wording : " By the grace of 
God, Great Britain, France," etc. The word " France " was 
discarded shortly after this. 

CROWN LAND SEAL (1801) 38 

The " great" seals attached to the Crown Land deeds by a 
piece of tape were made of wax, 4 inches in diameter and half 
an inch thick, and are certainly curiosities. The photo-en- 
graving shows both sides of the seal. 


This building is said to be a facsimile of the one occupied 
by Governor Simcoe in Toronto in 1794. 

This picture was taken in a very old house near Queenston. 


DISTANCE . . . 52 

This view was taken in front of the old homestead. 


Monument erected to the'memory of Laura Secord, the hero- 
ine of the War of 1812, in the cemetery on the Lundy's Lane 
battle ground, where she is buried. 


These papers belonged to the writer's great-grandfather and 
were found in the old homestead. 


The account book from which this was taken belonged to 
the writer's great-grandfather. The prices are given in New 
York Currency (N.Y.C.). This was the kind most generally 
used by the people along the Niagara for private and store ac- 
counts previous to 1820. (See page 67). Many of the entries, 
as will be seen, are for hides and leather, the account being 
against a community tanner. (Page 169). 


AN OLD-FASHIONED CRADLE (Niagara Historical Society) . 72 

Notice the knobs at the side for tieing baby in, and the 
handles for rocking the cradle. (See page 99. ) 

Box STOVE In use for a hundred years .... 78 
(See page 121.) 


In the early days many of the households owned a loom. 
It was the work of one of the thrifty daughters to do the 
weaving for the family. (See page 143.) 


(Seepage 149.) 


A familiar sight in the early days. 



The building seen in the picture is the Queen's Royal 
Hotel, a large summer hotel at Niagara-on-the-Lake. 


Inscription " Erected by the Canadian Parliament in honor 
of the victory gained by the British and Canadian forces on 
this field on the 28th day of July, 1814, and in grateful remem- 
brance of the brave men who died on that day fighting for the 
unity of the Empire, 1896." 


The birth place of the writer's mother and the one with 
which he has been associated more or less since early child- 
hood and where he got many of his ideas of the early life and 
times of the country. (See page 101.) 


This old table belongs to the house and has been in use in the 
family for a hundred years. Family tradition says it was used 
by General Drummond when he occupied the house for a short 
time in the War of 1812. It is said he kept his papers in the 
drawers with the old brass pulls. (See page 104.) 

THE OLD OAKEN BUCKET (Niagara Historical Society) . 108 

Many of our readers may not have had the privilege of 
seeing a real genuine old oaken bucket. This is certainly a 
picture of one. 



This view of the old homestead is, in the mind of the writer, 
so pretty that he cannot resist the temptation to insert it. 

AN OLD FAMILY CEMETERY . ... . . . 112 

This old cemetery is on the Gonder homestead. It has been 
the burial ground of the family for seventy-five years. The 
writer's grandfather and grandmother and great-grandfather 
and great-grandmother are buried in it. There were many 
such cemeteries in the early days. (See page 110 ) 

(See pages 118 and 161.) 


Owned by Mr. H. Zimmerman, Stevensville, Ont. It is a 
family heirloom. (See page 123). 


KETTLE (Niagara Historical Society) . . .128 
Reflector, page 114; lantern, p. 137; bake kettle, p. 114; 
tinder box, p. 141. 


Peacock duster, candle mould, p. 136 ; wooden clog, p. 85 ; 
old bonnet, basket, bread tray, pewter dish, p. 134 ; basket, 
jug, sea shell (used as a dinner horn), glass candlesticks, 
whiskey decanter, brass candlestick, p. 136 ; old cradle, 
wooden lantern, straw beehive, p. 150 ; beaver plug hat, p. 146; 
family Bible, old stands, p. 133; fall- leaf table, p. 133; old 
rocking chair (100 years old), etc. 

OLD-TIME LIGHTING UTENSILS (Niagara Historical Society) 138 

1 branch sconse, p. 138 ; 4 branch hanging candelabra 
3 branch sconse, p. 138 ; 2 long tin sconses, 2 lanterns, 2 candle 
moulds, 1 candlestick with extinguisher, p. 137 ; snuffers and 
tray, p. 137 ; 3 candlesticks, p. 136 ; 1 Dutch lamp, p. 137 ; 
1 tinder box, p. 141 ; brass snuffers and tray. 


Pewter teapot, sugar bowl and cups, wooden apple -paring 
machine, smoothing iron (hollow), straw basket for raising 
bread in, p. 115; brass knob lock, shaving box and mirror, 
wooden mortar and pestle for grinding spices in, wooden 
front of old door lock, iron coffee mill (minus crank), Laura 
Secord's tea caddy. 


(See page 148.) 



Bench, kraut cutter, p. 157 ; apple sauce stirrer, p. 162 ; 
rack for drying apples ; board for drying apples and ber- 
ries ; hand cards, p. 177 ; andirons, p. 46 ; flax wheel, 
p. 149 ; old almanacs, p. 92 ; bayonet, fire tongs, p. 46 ; 
powder horn, p. 127 ; clock, gun, potato masher, shoe last, 
high spinning wheel, p, 149 ; reels, p. 148 ; swift, p. 148 ; tin 
churn, flax hackle, p. 168 ; curd cutter, sausage stuffier ; 
dash churn, p. 129. 


This fort stood on the Niagara River, Canada side, near Lake 
Erie. In the War of 1812 it was taken and occupied by the 
U. S. soldiers for a time. When pressed by the British they 
blew the fort up and retreated across the river. The fort was 
never rebuilt. The ruins of the fort are very imposing. 


High spinning wheel, p. 149 ; Dutch hoe, clamps for mend- 
ing shoes and harness, coffee mill, p. 139 ; jugs, dough scraper, 
butter mould, rolling pin, cannon balls (many of these balls, 
relics of 1812, are to be found among some of the old families 
on the Niagara), brass kettle, sauce stirrer, p. 162 ; three 
drawer stand, p. 133 ; old basket, old-fashioned bed spread 
(the women folks would furnish the yarn and get a weaver in 
the neighborhood to make these spreads for them), large 
basket made of straw, p. 150 ; fire tongs, stilliards, yoke, 
191 ; powder horn, p. 127 ; boot jack, p. 132 ; flail, p. 173 ; 
raut cutter, p. 157. 


Swingle board, p. 167 ; hackle, p. 168 ; breake, p. 166 ; flax 
wheels, and sheaf of flax ready for swingling or scutching. 


Soap kettle, p. 153 ; sauce kettle, p. 162 ; shaving horse, 
p. 117 ; grindstone, p. 117 ; grain cradle, p. 175 ; old chair, 
p. 132 ; flax hackle, p. 168 ; candle mould, p. 136 ; sauer kraut 
stomper, p. 157 ; sauce stirrer, p. 162 ; old scales, steel trap, 
p. 204 ; butter dish. 

(Seepage 148.) 


cal Society) ........ 182 


Warming pan, p. 134 ; short sword, Crown Land seal, 
sword, Thomas Lundy's coat (1812), cannon balls (1812); flax 
wheel, hand cards, brass candlesticks, etc. 




The ruins of Fort George stand quite close to the river 
front in the town of Niagara. This old arsenal is hid away in 
one of the hollows in the fort. It is very strongly built of 
stone. The walls are five feet thick. 

FIREPLACE WITH OLD UTENSILS (Niagara Historical Society) 198 

Candle mould, p. 136 ; old lantern, p. 137 ; candlesticks, 
p. 136 ; pewter teapot, sugar bowl, platter and mug, p. 134 ; 
tinder box, p. 141 ; coffee mill, p. 139 ; iron for fixing frills to 
cap, p. 147; warming pan, p. 134; gourd dipper, p. 132; 
stands for smoothing irons, toaster, waffle irons, p. 134 ; sugar 
tongs, horse radish grater, fire box, p. 134 ; pot hooks, p. 45; 
tea kettle, fire dogs, p. 46; bake kettle, p. 114 ; serving tray, 
fire tongs, p. 46 ; fire shovel, p. 46 ; dinner horn, p. 127 ; 
smoothing iron, stand for handles of pans, p. 134. 

LIST OF WAR LOSSES (1812) 202 

LIST OF WAR LOSSES (1812) Continued .... 208 

The losses sustained by the writer's great-grandfather. 
Many of the war losses were not paid till many years after the 


Taken on the hill just as you enter Queenston on the road 
from Niagara. The monument is perhaps a mile away. 


This is the second monument, the first being destroyed in 
1840. The present monument was completed in 1852. It is 
185 feet high and stands on a commanding eminence overlook- 
ing the Niagara River and Lake Ontario. The inscription on 
the monument reads as follows: "The Legislature of Upper 
Canada has dedicated this monument to the very eminent Civil 
and Military Services of the late Sir Isaac Brock, Knight 
Commander of the most honorable Order of the Bath, Provis- 
ional Lieutenant-Governor and Major-General commanding 
the Forces in the Province, whose remains are deposited 
in the vault beneath; having expelled the North -Western 
Army of the United States, achieved its capture, received 
the surrender of the Fort of Detroit, and the Territory of 
Michigan, under circumstances which have rendered his name 
illustrious, he returned to the protection of the Frontier ; and 
advancing with his small force to repel a second invasion of 
the enemy, then in possession of the Heights, he fell in action 
on the 13th of Oct., 1812, in the 43rd year of his age, honored 
and beloved l.y the people whom he governed, and deplored, 
by his Sovereign, to whose service his life was devoted." 



All who have taken the electric road from Queenston to the 
Falls have no doubt noticed this stone. It stands at the foot 
of the hill. 


Used considerably years ago for threshing and sawing wood. 


This monument stands near the Welland Canal in the out- 
skirts of the Town of Thorold and was placed here by John 
Brown, one of the contractors of the Welland Canal, who on 
excavating for the canal came across the remains of a number 
of U. S. soldiers. He had the remains placed here and this 
monument erected to mark the spot. 


This is said to be the house where Laura Secord went to 
inform Colonel FitzGibbon (then Lieutenant) of the intentions 
of Colonel Boerstler, the officer in command of the U.S. forces. 
(See inscription on monument, page 58). This act of Laura 
Secord deserves to go down in Canadian history, not only 
because it was the act of a brave and courageous woman, but 
because it caused the defeat of the Americans at a period in 
the War of 1812 when their success might have meant the 
loss of Canada to the British. The patriotic spirit she showed 
was the spirit of all the U. E. Loyalist women of that time. 
(See page 20). 


Captain Michael Dunn Gonder (1804-1886), the maternal 
grandfather of the author. Both Mr. Gonder's father and grand- 
father were Loyalists and came to Canada from Pennsylvania 
in 1789. Mr. Gonder was connected with the militia in the 
early days and was for many years a "country squire." He 
lived all his life on the old homestead (see photo of the old 
homestead) on the Niagara, eight miles above the Falls. 


This photograph was taken from behind the palisades in 
front of the fort. 


SOLDIERS IN THE WAR OF 1812 .... 252 
This building is owned by the Wentworth County Ladies' 
Historical Society, and the historical collections of the Society 
are kept in it. It is said that in the War of 1812 the owner 
was taken prisoner and the family locked up in the cellar du- 
ring the occupation. 



The mouth of the Chippawa Creek, as the people in that 
locality call it (the geographies call it the Welland River), was 
the first southern outlet of the Welland Canal. At the left- 
hand side of the picture is the spot where old Fort Welland 
stood during the War of 1812. The old hulk which you see in 
the picture was run into the mouth of the creek some years 
ago by its owner, who was in debt, to get it out of the way 
of his creditors. 



These papers belonged to the author's great-grandfather and grand- 
father, Captains Jacob and Michael D. Gander (now spelled Gonder). 


FORT ERIE, 18th September, 1824. 

SIR, I am directed by order of His Excellency the Lieutenant- 
Oovernor to inform you that the remains of the late Major-General Sir 
Isaac Brock are to be removed to the monument on Queenston Heights 
on the 13th day of October next, and that it is the wish of His Excel- 
lency that the militia of the district should be present on that occasion. 
You will, therefore, order your company to assemble on that day at 
ten o'clock in the morning, with their arms and three rounds of blank 
cartridge, at John McFarland's, two miles above Fort George. 
I have the honor to be, sir, 

Your obedient servant, 


Colonel Com'g 3 Reg't Lin. Militia. 


NIAGARA FALLS, July 14th, 1840. 


SIR, By a militia general order, dated Toronto, 30th June, 1840, 
His Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor is pleased to request a meet- 
ing of the officers of Militia, to assemble at Queenston Heights on 
Tuesday the 30th day of July, instant, at one o'clock p.m., in order to 
determine in the most public manner the best mode of reconstructing 
the monument erected by the people of this Province to the revered 
memory of the late Major-General Sir Isaac Brock, which has recently 


been most wickedly attempted to be destroyed. Therefore, in compli- 
ance with the wishes of His Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor, the 
attendance of all officers of the 3d Lincoln is earnestly requested by 


Col. Com'd'g 3d L. M. 
3d Lincoln Militia, Willoughby, Niagara River. 



NIAGARA FALLS, September 14th, 1840. 

In compliance with circular instructions from the Adjutant-General 
of Militia, bearing date the 20th August last, and in pursuance of 
resolutions which accompanied, passed at a meeting of the General 
Committee, held in the city of Toronto on the 17th preceding : It was 
among others unanimously Resolved that " The Adjutant-General of 
Militia be requested to address a circular letter to the several officers 
in command of Militia Regiments or Corps throughout the Province, 
requesting and recommending that a muster of their Regiments and 
Corps should take place on the 13th October now next, being the anni- 
versary of the Battle of Queenston (or such other day as may be most 
convenient), for the purpose of receiving subscriptions from the officers 
and men under their command for the construction of the Monument 
to the memory of the late Major-General Sir Isaac Brock on Queenston 
Heights." The Adjutant- General is directed by His Excellency the 
Lieutenant-Governor to request an assemblage of the 3rd Lincoln for 
the purpose of inviting the participation in the national object of again 
raising a Monument upon the former site to the memory of the said 
late Major-General Sir Isaac Brock officers commanding companies of 
the said 3d Lincoln are therefore hereby requested to call out the indi- 
viduals of their several companies of the ages of 18 to 60 years for a 
General Meeting of the Regiment at Chippawa at 10 o'clock in the fore- 
noon of the aforesaid anniversary which comes on Tuesday the 13th 
day of October as aforesaid. In the meantime, without any more than 
necessary delay, the said officers, with the assistance of their subalterns 
and non-commissioned officers, are requested to circulate the accom- 
panying subscription Lists (Two Lists for each Company) that any 
individual of their companies, Officers, Non-commissioned Officers and 
Privates shall have an opportunity forthwith of subscribing in pro- 
portion to his Rank a day's pay according to the scale of pay when in 
actual service, of which schedules accompany the subscriptions and to 
save time and confusion which will be likely to occur at the General 
Meeting if the subscriptions are deferred till that day. 

Officers and Non-commissioned Officers will be pleased to bear in 
mind that the name of no person is to be admitted to the List unless he 


be prepared at the same time to deposit the amount of subscription ; 
and His Excellency desires that no means whatever shall be used to 
compel subscriptions that the act must be purely voluntary A copy 
of the resolutions referred to will be read on Parade at the General 

The subscription List may be presented to Aliens and other 
exempts as well as Militia, but with the observance as 
before recited, that their subscriptions must be voluntary. 


Col. Comdg 3d L. M. 

For the purpose of Conference all officers of the Left Wing are 
requested to meet the undersigned at the village of Crowland (Cook's 
Mills) on Friday, the 18th September instant, at 10 o'clock in the fore- 


all officers of the Right Wing to meet him at Lieut. Jacob Wilson's at 
the cross roads in the Township of Bertie on Saturday, 19th instant, 
the day following, at the same hour. 


Col. Comdg 3d L. M. 

Commanding the late Capt. Edgworth Ussher's Company of 3d L. M. , 


Cavalry. Currency Infantry. Currency 

s d s d 

Captain 18 3 Colonel 25 

Lieutenant 11 3 Lieutenant-Colonel 21 3 

Cornet 10 Major 20 

Troop Sergeant Major 3 9 Captain 14 6 

Sergeant 2 9 Lieutenant 8 2 

Corporal 2 1 Ensign . 6 7 

Trumpeter 2 Paymaster 15 8 

Private 1 7 Adjutant 10 8 

Quartermaster 8 2 

Artillery. Surgeon 16 3 

Captain 15 2 Assistant- Surgeon 9 5 

First Lieutenant 8 7 Sergeant-Major 3 9 

Second Lieutenant 7 Quartermaster-Sergeant... 3 2 

Company Sergeant 311 Colour Sergeant 2 11 

Sergeant 3 1 Sergeant 2 4 

Corporal 2 9 Corporal 1 8 

Bombardier 2 6 Drummer or Bugler 1 5 

Gunner (or Bugler) 1 8 Private 1 3 




Of the late Captain Edgworth Ussher's Company of 3d Regiment of 
Lincoln Militia, towards the General Fund for the reconstruction of 
the Monument on Queenston Heights to the memory of the late Major- 
General Sir Isaac Brock, 20th September to 13th October, 1840 : 





Michael D Gander 











Ensign . . 
Private . 
Private . 
Private . 

Private . 
Private . 
Private . 

Isaac S. Haun ... 

Thomas Need 
William Crysler , 
James Crysler 
Joseph Wilson 

John Flett 

Samuel Pettit 

James Walker 

George White 
Robert Cumrriings 
Ronald Chisholm 
Joel Lyons 

William Wallar 

James H. Lyons 

JohnD. Kinck 
Alexander Nicholson 
George Gander 
George Weaver 

Calvin Goodenough 
William Wintermute 
Henry Quess 

Henry Hudson 

William Grey.. 

Her Majesty's Government, Canada, 

To Michael D. Gander, Dr. 

1. Furnishing quarters for forty men of the Gore Militia 

for fifteen days during the Navy Island campaign in 
December, 1837, and January, 1838, occupying the 
greater part of the house, and bedding 3 10s. Ocl. 

2. Half ton of hay used by the teamsters, in attendance 

upon the men and officers 1 


3. Fifteen Bushels of Apples at 1/3 p. Bushel, and one 

barrel of cider taken and used by the same at ten 

shillings 1 8 

4. Furnishing Stabling for Teamsters' Horses during the 

above period, Ten Shillings ; also 3J Bush, of Oats 
taken and used by the same while attending the said 
company at 1/3 p. Bush 14 4^ 

6 12 4i 

5. To Damage done by a Detachment of Incorporated 
Militia under the Command of Lieutenant Gatchell, 
who came into my Orchard, set their Tents and re- 
mained there during the greater part of the summer 
of 1839, thereby doing much damage, having had no 
wood furnished for cooking, and occasionally used 
my fence rails for that ; also that the men could not 
be prevented or hindered from using the best fruit of 
the orchard, so that I estimate the amount of damage 

at 7 10 

brought down 6 12 4 

14 2 4^ 


KINGSTON, 29th September, 1842. 

At a meeting of the General Committee appointed for the reconstruc- 
tion of Brock's Monument, held this day, at the residence of Colonel 
FitzGibbon, in Seaton Street, near the Parliament House, 


Colonel Sir Allan McNab, 3rd Regiment, Gore, President. 

Colonel Richard Bullock, Adjutant-General Militia, Secretary. 

Colonel FitzGibbon, unattached. 

Colond Honorable John Macaulay, 2nd Frontenac Regiment. 

Colonel J. B. Marks, 3rd Frontenac Regiment. 

Lieutenant-Colonel G. S. Boulton, 2nd Durham Regiment. 

Lieutenant-Colonel F. S. Jarvis, 2nd West York Regiment. 

Lieutenant-Colonel J. S. Cartwright, 2nd Lenox Regiment. 

Lieutenant -Colonel D. J. Smith, 1st Frontenac Regiment. . 

Lieutenant-Colonel Honorable J. McDonald, 6th Leeds Regiment. 

Lieutenant-Colonel J. P. Bowers, 3rd Frontenac Regiment. 

Thomas G. Ridout, Esquire, Treasurer. 

The minutes of the preceding meeting were read. 

The Treasurer exhibited a statement of the Funds, showing a cash 
balance at credit of 428 17s. 3d. currency, and a memorandum of 
Debentures belonging to the same fund amounting to 2800, currency. 

The following Resolutions were then proposed : 

Moved by Lieutenant-Colonel Honorable J. McDonald, seconded by 
Lieutenant-Colonel Boulton, and resolved, 


1st. That the thanks of this meeting are justly due and are hereby 
tendered to the Officers, Non-commissioned Officers and Men of the 
Militia of New Brunswick, for the amount subscribed by them in aid 
of the Brock fund, and that a copy of this Resolution be transmitted 
to the Honorable Lieutenant-Colonel Shore, Adjutant-General Militia 
of New Brunswick. 

Moved by Lieutenant-Colonel Smith, seconded by Lieutenant-Colonel 
Bowers, and Resolved, 

2nd. That the thanks of this meeting are justly due, and are hereby 
tendered to those Inhabitants of Montreal, who have subscribed towards 
the reconstruction of Brock's Monument, and that a copy of this Reso- 
lution be forwarded to Benjamin Holmes, Esquire, M.P.P., by whom 
the amount was transmitted. 

Moved by Colonel FitzGibbon, seconded by Lieutenant-Colonel F. S. 
Jar vis, and resolved, 

3rd. That a Petition be presented to the Governor-General, accom- 
panied by a statement of the amount paid in, and praying that His 
Excellency may be pleased to recommend to the Provincial Legislature 
to grant a sum of money in aid of the Brock fund. 

Moved by Lieutenant-Colonel Cartwright, seconded by Colonel Hon- 
orable John Macaulay, and resolved, 

4th. That the Petition to His Excellency the Governor -General just 
read, be adopted. 

Moved by Colonel J. B. Marks, seconded by Lieutenant-Colonel 
Smith, and resolved, 

5th. That a deputation consisting of the following Officers, wait 
upon His Excellency the Governor-General, with the Petition : 
Colonel Sir Allan N. McNab. 
Colonel Richard Bullock. 
Colonel Honorable Alexander Fraser. 
Lieutenant-Colonel G. S. Boulton. 
Lieutenant-Colonel F. S. Jarvis. 
Lieutenant-Colonel Honorable J. McDonald. 
Lieutenant-Colonel D. Jones. 
Lieutenant-Colonel J. P. Bowers. 
Thomas G. Ridout, Esquire. 

Moved by Colonel FitzGibbon, seconded by Lieutenant-Colonel Hon- 
orable J. McDonald, and resolved, 

6th. That the Secretary be requested to wait upon the Governor- 
General with a copy of the Petition, and to ascertain when His Excel- 
lency would be pleased to receive the deputation. 

Ordered that the account of Mr. Henry Roswell, amounting to 
3 9s. 10d., be paid by the Treasurer. 

It was then moved and resolved unanimously, that the foregoing 
proceedings and Resolutions, together with a former vote of thanks to 
the Indian Tribes, passed at a meeting of the Committee held in 
Toronto, on the 19th February, 1841. be published in the Canada 
Gazette, which vote of thanks was in the following words, viz : 

That the Committee for restoring the Monument erected to the 
memory of the late Sir Isaac Brock have received with the most lively 


satisfaction a letter from the Chief Superintendent of Indian Affairs, 
written by desire of His Excellency Sir George Arthur, and communi- 
cating the Munificent Donations of the principal Chiefs and others, of 
the Chippawas of the upper reserve on the River St. Clair, the Chip- 
pawaa of the lower reserve and Walpole Island on River St. Clair, the 
Hurons and Wyandotts of Amherstburg, the Chippawas of the River 
Thames, the Moravians of the River Thames, the Munseesof the River 

The Oneidas of the River Thames, the Six Nations of the Grand 
River, the Mississagas of the River Credit, the Chippawas of the Sau- 
geeng River, Lake Huron ; the Chippawas of the Township of Rama, 
Lake Simcoe : the Chippawas of Snake Inland, Lake Simcoe ; the Mis- 
sissagas of Alnwick, Rice Lake ; the Mississagas of Rice Lake Village, 
in the Township of Otonabee, and of Mud and Balsam Lakes, and the 
Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte. 

And that they have read with great interest the affecting Addresses 
in which the principal Chiefs have made known their wishes to the 
head of the Government. 

The Committee have much pride in finding themselves associated 
with the brave and faithful Warriors of the Indian Nations in the 
design of doing honor to the memory of the lamented General who was 
loved and admired by all his followers, and it is their anxious wish 
that the Chief Superintendent of Indian Affairs should, under the 
direction of His Excellency, take the most effectual means of assuring 
the principal Chiefs that the Militia and other Inhabitants of Canada 
are very thankful for their kind assistance in the grand design. 

That they feel the greatest respect for the loyalty and for the warm 
and friendly hearts of their Red Brethren ; that they shall take care 
that their generous gift shall be made the best use of for the purpose 
they have resolved to join in ; and that as long as the Monument shall 
stand, it shall tell their great Mother the Queen, and all their White 
Brethren, that the brave and grateful Indians have not forgotten their 
glorious leader and friend, who flew to their defence in the time of 
danger, and that they have helped to build the tomb over his grave. 

KINGSTON, 30th September, 1842. 

This day the Deputation from the Committee waited upon the Gov- 
ernor-General at the Government House, by appointment, at 12 o'clock, 
when the following Petition was read and handed, together with the 
Treasurer's Accounts, to His Excellency : 

To His Excellency, The Right Honorable Sir Charles Bayot, G.G.B., 
Governor -General of British North America, Captain- General and 
Govtrnor-in-Chief in and over the Provinces of Canada, Nova Sco- 
tia, New Brumnvick, Prince Edward Island, and Vice-Admiral of 
the same, <fcc., tfcc., &c. : 

The Petition of the Militia Officers and others of the General Com- 
mittee, appointed for the reconstruction of Brock's Monument, most 
respectfully sheweth : 
' That in consequence of the destruction of the Monument erected on 


Queenston Heights to the memory of the late Major-General Sir Isaac 
Brock, it was resolved at a meeting of the Militia and other Inhabitants 
of Upper Canada, held on the said Heights, on the 30th day of July, 
1840, that an Obelisk should be erected instead of the ruined Monu- 
ment, and upon the same site ; 

That your Petitioners have been enabled to procurp, by voluntary 
subscriptions, and contributions from the Militia and Indian Warriors 
of Upper Canada, and from other sources, funds for the erection of the 
Obelisk to the amount of 3228 17s. 3d., as per the Treasurer's Ac- 
count herewith delivered for your Excellency's information ; 

That from the best information your Petitioners have been able to 
obtain, it will require about 5000 to complete the said Monument, 
upon a scale worthy of the object ; 

That your Petitioners therefore humbly pray, that Your Excellency 
will be pleased to recommend to the Provincial Legislature to grant 
such a sum of money, in aid of the Brock Fund, as Your Excellency 
may see fit. 

Which is humbly submitted. 


President Brock Committee. 

Secretary Brock Committee. 

His Excellency was then pleased to reply verbally to the following 
effect, " That he should feel very great pleasure in recommending it to 
the Legislature." The Deputation then withdrew. 

Secretary Brock Committee. 



We, the Subscribers, agree and promise to pay the Several Items we 
have set down with our names, towards the Building of a School 
House, and Meeting house, or Public worship, in the Township of 
Willoughby, on the River between Black Creek & Chippawa. 

s. d. 

Jacob Gander, in Labour, 15 Dollars, paid 

B. Shoup, ten dolers, In nals, paid - - 2 10 

John Seegrist - paid 5 

John Beam paid 150 

Thomas Mohr - ... Paid 1 - 

Joseph Danner, Paid 

Johannes Lauer, in Bord, Paid - 1 10 

Jacob Miller, in bord u Geld,* 4 Dollars - - 2 10 

paid in boards 1/13 

Jacob Whisler, fife Dollars, Lauber and money - - 1 5 
_ Paid Cash 12/6 



G. McMicking & Co. -6 M Shingles .... Paid 
Samuel Street, 700 feet Roof Boards. 

Wm. Richardson 10 

AdamCrysler - Paid 5 

Joseph Moore, in boards paid 10 

Abraham Beam, 5 Bushels Wheat - - - Paid 
Wm Atkinson, five Dollars in Leather - - - - 1 5 

Lewis White, Paid 7/6, paid in full ...... 12 6 

David Thomas paid 15 
We, the Subscribers, Promise to pay Severally the Sum Set Down 
with our names for the purchase of a Stove for the School-house in the 
Township, Niagara River : 
Jacob Gander - - 10 

John Seegrist Paid Cash 2 6 

John Beam Paid 5 

Eve Shoup - Paid Cash 10 

Thomas Mohr Paid 8 

Jacob Whisler - 5 

Joseph Danner - - Paid 10 

Abraham Lap Paid 7 6 

Jacob Miller - ... p a id 10 

Peter Colerick - - Paid 2 6 

William Colerick - - Paid 1 6 

Jacob Troup - - - Paid 3 9 

Henry Miller - Paid 10 

John'Miller - Paid 1 5 

Johannes Byer - - Paid 5 

Martin Shoup - - Paid 2 6 

Abraham Climenhague - - - Paid 5 

Eve Shoup - - - Paid 2 6 

Mrs. Palmer - - .... p a id 5 Q 

Urial Driggs - - 50 

David Davis, to 5 hundred Brick. 

Henry x Fickf ... ... p a id 5 

John Lemon - ... Paid 5 

Andrew Miller - - ... p a id 5 

James Shackleton - Paid 2 6 

John Miller - - .... p a id 5 

John Beam Paid 5 


Articles of Agreement entered into between the subscribed inhabi- 
tants of the Township of Willoughby on the one part, and Rob Grier- 
son, Schoolmaster, on the other part, agreed to on the 4th day of 

December, 1826 That is to say, that the said Rob Grierson, on' his 

part, binds and obliges himself to teach a regular, and well conducted 

tThe x is the subscriber's mark. When persons could not 
would write their name and they would make their mark after it. 



School, until the 30th day of April, 1827, at the rate of Twelve Shil- 
lings, New York Currency, per quarter, for each and every individual 
Scholar, the school to be subject to the same regulations as other pro- 
vincial institutions of the same kind in the province, and under the 
control of the present managing Trustees, whose decision in all matters, 
if any disputes should arise between the employers and employed, shall 
be considered by both parties as final. No charge to be made for any 
Scholar except the time actually attending, an account of which shall 
be regularly kept in a book for the express purpose by the Teacher, 
liable to be sworn to if necessary. The employers to pay the said Grier- 
son at the expiration of the three months, in the current paper or 
other money of the province, for his services duly performed. The 
inhabitants concerned further agree to board and lodge the said 
Teaciier, during the time of his engagement, according to their respec- 
tive proportion of Scholars, and also to contribute their quota of wood 
for the supply and comfort of the School. This list, as soon as com- 
pleted, to be delivered up to one of the Trustees, in whose possession 
it is to be retained ; that if necessary it may be forthcoming when 
called for. 

It is clearly understood before signing that the said Grierson is not 
to make any demand for the time he taught previous to the 4th of 
December, and that he is to teach an Evening School two nights in 
each week without any expense to the parents or scholar during the 
present winter months. 



Time of 



No. of 




John Byer 


George Harruss 



Joseph Danner . 
Jacob Gander 


John Graham 



Whereas, the united testimony of all Christians confirms -the 
importance of instructing the rising generation in the first principles 
of Religion, as they are taught or contained in the Holy Scriptures, 
and as the most happy consequences have resulted from Sabbath 
Schools established in Great Britain and America, and wishing to see 
one of these excellent institutions brought into operation in this place, 
therefore we whose names are annexed to this paper do cheerfully 


unite for the purpose of promoting this important object, and engage 
to adopt as its basis the following articles : 

Art. 1. A Committee of five or more suitable persons shall be chosen 
annually by the Subscribers, whose duty it shall be to appoint a 
Secretary and Treasurer, and provide 'or each School a Superintendent, 
good Teachers, and suitable Books. And this Committee shall collect 
and apply the funds, and transact all the necessary business of the 
Society, and report thereon, annually, in time to have anything inter- 
esting inserted in the Annual Report. 

Art. 2. Each person who may subscribe to these Rules, and 
annually pay two shillings and six pence towards forming a library, 
shall be a member of the Society, and shall have the liberty of taking 
out a book or tract every Sabbath. 

Art. 3. Every School and Bible Class which may be opened under 
the care of this Society shall be made accessible to all who may be 
disposed to attend and conform to the Rules and Regulations of this 
School, or such as may be adopted. 

Art. 4- The School shall be opened and concluded with prayer. The 
order of proceeding in the employment of the day shall be established 
by the Committee. But this pledge shall be given to the public, that 
no sectarian creeds or dogmas of human invention shall ever be taught 
in any School or class under this Society, for the grand design of this 
institution is to give the rising generation a correct knowledge of the 
Holy Scriptures. 

Art. 5. All who attend regularly, and behave well, and are able to 
read the Scriptures, will, as a reward, have the privilege of access to 
the library one week in four, or oftener, if the Committee shall think 
most expedient. 

Art. 6. The labour of the Committee and Teachers will be gratis, 
therefore, all that may be paid to the Treasurer will be applied 
towards the increasing of the library, and paying any necessary 
expenses which may occur. Donations in cash or books will be thank- 
fully accepted. 

Art. 7. Any addition, alteration or amendment can be made to the 
above, by the concurrence of two-thirds of the members, at a regular 
meeting, which may be called by any two-thirds of the Board, atter 
giving timely notice. A majority of the Committee must be present 
to constitute a quorum for business. 


Subscribers' Names Female. & s. d. Subscriber*' Names Female s. d. 
Mary Ann Gander . . .paid 026 Elisabeth Beam paid 2 6 

Catharine Miller 26 Maria Cowl 

Sarah Shonp . 
Abigail Wait . . . 
Sarah Ann Wait . 
Veronica Miller . 

Mary Miller 

Hannah Peck . . 

2 6 Sophia Moore 

2 6 Mary Webster 

2 6 Elisabeth Havei -limd . 

2 6 Hulda Yale 

2 6 Elisabeth Miller 

2 6 

2 6 



Subscriber*' Names-Male. 
Jacob Gander pa 
Munson Peck 
Samuel Wait 
George Lutes 
Adam Beam 
Michael D. Gander . . . 
Richard Tubbs 
Jeremiah Monroe .... 
Levi Wait 

s. d. 
id 26 
2 6 
2 6 
2 6 
2 6 
2 6 
2 6 
2 6 
2 6 
2 6 
2 6 
2 6 
2 6 
2 6 
. 6 
. 4 

Subscriber* Nameg-Male. 
David Gander pa 
Jacob Gander, jun .... 
David Young 
Joseph Moore 
Alfred McCarty 
Urial Driggs 
William Burk 
Alexander Young ... 
Michael Lemon . . 
Joseph Lemon 
Robert Treffry 
Martin Everett 
Lawrence Corson 
Thomas Cartwright, jr. 

8. d. 
d 26 
2 6 
2 6 
1 3 
2 6 
2 6 
2 6 
2 6 
2 6 
2 6 
2 6 
1 3 
2 6 
1 3 

Daniel Case 
Andrew Milier, jun. . . 
B. Shoup . . 
Samuel McAffee 
Reuben Wait 
Joseph' Messmore, paid 
and 1. 6... 


August 27th, 1826. 

The Committee of the Willoughby Library met for the purpose of 
making Rules and additional Regulations, appoint additional teachers, 
when the following persons were chosen.: 


Sarah Ann Wait, 
Levi Wait, 

Mary Gander, 
David Gander. 

1st. Resolved that the school commence at 10 o'clock and continue 
until 1 o'clock. 

2nd. Resolved that Jacob Gander and Reuben Wait are appointed 
by the Committee to purchase books for the library and to bring a bill 
of the same. 

Committee Present. 

Jacob Gander. Adam Beam. 

David Young. Michael Gander. 

Reuben Wait. Veronica Miller. 

George Lutes. David Gander. 

The Committee of the Willoughby Library feel disposed to give 
every Indulgence in their Power according to the Size of the Library. 

Sept. 9th, 1826. 

The majority of the Committee made the following Rules and Regu- 
lations : 

1st. Resolved that all who have subscribed and paid their subscrip- 
tion shall be at liberty to take out 1 book at a time and return the 
same unto the library aft r the time which the Committee prescribes, 
and any person who shall neglect returning at the expiration of said 
term shall be liable to such fine as the Committee may prescribe for 


such neglect, and also for soiling or tearing a leaf and turning down 
corners of a leaf. 

April 7th, 1827. 

It is further voted that Mr. Rob. Grierson may become a teacher of 
Sabbath School. 


Messrs. Gander and Wait. Bot of Lovell and Francis : 

Set Moor's works $7 00 

No. Fiction 1 25 

Christian Guide 50 

Porteus 374 

P Piety 374 

Solomon's Temple 50 

Watts on the Mind . . . 1 00 


Buffalo, Sept. 8, 1826. 

Rec'd payment, LOVELL & FRANCIS. 


THIS INDENTURE witnesseth that of the Township of 

Willoughby, County of Lincoln, and Province of Upper Canada, hath, 
by his own consent, bound his son a child of the age of 
seven years, to Jacob Gander, of the Township of Willoughby, and 
County and Province aforesaid, as a servant to serve him from the 
day and date hereof, the full term of fourteen years from thence next 
ensuing, with him as a servant to dwell and continue unto the full end 
and term aforesaid, during which the said servant his said master well 
and faithfully shall serve, his secrets keep, his lawful commands 
everywhere willingly obey, the goods of his said master he shall not 
embezzle nor waste, or lend them without his consent to any, at any 
unlawful games he shall not play, nor frequent any places of public 
entertainments, fornication he shall not commit nor matrimony con- 
tract during said term, he shall not absent himself from his said 
master's service without leave, and in all things behave himself as a 
faithful servant ought to do during said term, and the said master 
shall and will find the said servant meat, drink, washing, lodging and 
apparel, and in all other necessaries, in sickness and health, fitting for 
a servant during the term aforesaid, and at the expiration of said term 
shall*and will give to his said servant (over and above his then 
clothing) one complete suit of clothing fitting for a servant, and like- 
wise in said term his said master shall and will send the said servant to 
some good English school to be instructed in reading and writing and 
arithmetic (not to exceed one year schooling), and for the true per- 
formance of all and every the said covenants and agreements either of 
the said parties bind themselves unto the other by these presents. 


In witness whereof they have hereunto set their hands and seals 
this tenth day of March, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight 
hundred and six. 

Signed and sealed in presence of 

Betsy x Benger, Jacob Gander. [SEAL] 

Sam'l Street. S D [SEAL] 



s d 

Making military coat 2 

Buttons for do 1 10 

Padding and canvas 5 

White cassimere 3 9 

Silk twist, thread, hook, etc 3 

Sleeve linings 1 9 

Blue cloth for facing, etc., cotton .... 76 

4 11 
Received in full for making and trimming. 

Niagara, U.C., April 21, 1825. 

Cloth and aplet, $14 3 10 

8 1 
Silk sash . . . 2 10 00 

10 11 00 
Received payment for cloth and applet and sash. 



Ran away from the subscriber on tho sixth of December a servant 
boy by the name of Elias ; about high ; dark complexion ; 

having on when he went away a short, homespun sailor jacket, a pair 
of homespun brown trousers. 

This is therefore to forbid all persons harboring or trusting said boy 
on my account, as I will pay no debts of his contracting after this date. 

N.B. Whoever wi 1 return the above described runaway shall be 
entitled to the reward, but no charges paid. 

WILLOUGHBY, 6th Dec'r, 1817. 


Advertisement of a Stage Line, taken from The, Farmer's Journal 
ami Wdland Canal Intelligencer, published at St. Catharines, U.C. , 
April 18th, 1833 : 







Leave Niagara every day at eight o'clock in the morning ; pass 
through Queenston at 10, and arrive in Hamilton, ina St. Catharines, 
&c. , in time for passengers to take the Stage for York or Sandwich. 

Returning Leave Hamilton every night at 12 o'clock (or immedi- 
ately after the arrival of the York Stage), and arrive at Niagara, via 
the same route, in time to take the steam boat for York the same day. 

Passengers will be taken or left at their residences, when necessary, 
if within the limits of any of the towns or villages on the line, and it 
can be done without delaying the mail. tS" All baggage at the risk of 
the owners. 

A General Stage Office is established at Hamilton, where seats may 
be taken for York, Niagara, Brantford or Sandwich or any of the 
intermediate places, and where every information will be given respect- 
ing the different lines of conveyance for Passengers throughout the 

St. Catharines, May 4, 1831. 

/ i* 





F Scherck, Michael Gonder 
5517 Pen pictures of early 

S32 pioneer life in Upper Canada 
cop. 2